Gardner urges Trump to label white nationalists as “evil”
U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner on Saturday called on President Donald Trump to label as “evil” the white nationalists who clashed with counterprotesters on Saturday at a rally in Virginia, where at least one person died when a car drove into a crowd.
Gardner, the Republican senator from Colorado, in a series of tweets called on Trump to specifically denounce the violence of the white supremacists. Other Republican leaders also denounced white supremacy, joining Gardner in going further than the president’s comments on the matter.
“Mr. President – we must call evil by its name,” Gardner said in one tweet after the violence that erupted Saturday in Charlottesville, Va. “These were white supremacists and this was domestic terrorism.”
In another tweet, Gardner stated: “Praying for those hurt & killed today in Charlottesville. This is nothing short of domestic terrorism & should be named as such.”
Shortly after Gardner’s tweets, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, a prominent Republican from Florida who lost when he ran against Trump during the 2016 primaries for president, also called on the president to do more to condemn white nationalists.
“Very important for the nation to hear @potus describe events in #Charlottesville for what they are, a terror attack by #whitesupremacists,” Rubio tweeted.
Trump earlier on Saturday had not specifically criticized the white nationalist rally and its neo-nazi slogans. In comments from Bedminister, N.J., Trump blamed “hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides.”
U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet, a Democrat, also issued a tweet denouncing the violence.
“The events in VA are contrary to all we stand for as a country,” Bennet said in the tweet. “Embrace inclusion, celebrate differences — that’s the America we believe in.”
U.S. Rep. Diana Degette, a Democrat representing Denver, in a tweet said that “domestic terrorism in #Charlottesville must not go unanswered. America we are better than this.”
U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman, a Republican representing Aurora, said in a tweet: “Evil, no matter its face, must be condemned.” He added that he was “heartbroken to hear about loss of life in today’s domestic terror attack.”
U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton, a Republican from Cortez, said in a tweet: “All Americans have the right to peaceful protest and free speech, but there is no room for violence in our society.”
U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn, a Republican from Colorado Springs, and U.S. Rep. Ken Buck, a Republican from Windsor, did not issue comments on the violence.
Gov. John Hickenlooper said in a tweet that he was “heartbroken by the violence and division.” Hickenlooper further said in the tweet, “Hatred has no place in our society — now is a time to come together.”
In one tweet, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock stated: “For the future of our country, leaders & community must all denounce these hate fueled acts.”
Hancock also issued another tweet that stated: “My heart wrenches for VA & I pray for the safety of all in #Charlottesville during these horrific turn of events.
Other national Republicans join Gardner and Rubio calling on more condemnation of the white nationalists. U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch, from Utah, in a tweet stated: “We should call evil by its name. My brother didn’t give his life fighting Hitler for Nazi ideas to go unchallenged here at home.”
The Democratic mayor of Charlottesville, Michael Signer, criticized the Trump administration harshly, saying,”i’m not going to make any bones about it. I place the blame for a lot of what you’re seeing in American today right at the doorstep of the White House and the people around the president.”
Trump’s comments did receive some praise, however, from a white supremacist website.
“He didn’t attack us,” according to the comments posted on the Daily Stormer, the white supremacist website promoting the Charlottesville demonstration on its Summer of Hate edition.
“He just said the nation should come together. Nothing specific against us. … No condemnation at all. When asked to condemn, he just walked out of the room. Really, really good. God bless him.”