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Caitlin MacNeal

Caitlin MacNeal is a News Writer based in Washington, D.C. Before joining TPM, Caitlin interned and wrote for the Huffington Post, the Sunlight Foundation and Slate. She is a graduate of Georgetown University.

Articles by Caitlin

After backsliding at a Tuesday afternoon press conference where he railed against what he called the “alt-left” and said that both “sides” held some blame for the violence in Charlottesville over the weekend, President Donald Trump faced criticism from a few Republican lawmakers.

A few GOP members of Congress directly called out Trump for pandering to white supremacists by refusing to place blame on them for the deadly attack in Charlottesville. And some Republicans reiterated their condemnations of white nationalists without calling out Trump by name.

Directly criticizing the President

After Trump’s off-the-rails press conference, some Republicans explicitly criticized him for failing yet again to condemn white nationalists.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) offered a tweetstorm bashing Trump and denouncing white supremacists.

Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) and several other Republicans also directly called out the President on Twitter.

Rep. Will Hurd (R-TX) told CNN that Trump should “apologize” for his comments at the press conference. Hurd said that “racism, bigotry, anti-Semitism of any form is unacceptable” and that the “leader of the free world should be unambiguous about that.”

At a town hall in Colorado, Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) said that Trump was “wrong” to go back on what he said on Monday when he explicitly condemned white nationalists, the Ku Klux Klan and neo-Nazis.

Sen. Jerry Moran (R-KS) issued a statement criticizing Trump.

“As I said this weekend, white supremacy, bigotry and racism have absolutely no place in out society, and no one — especially the President of the United States — should ever tolerate it. We must all come together as a country and denounce this hatred to the fullest extent,” he said.

Condemned white nationalists

Other Republicans distanced themselves from Trump’s press conference by reiterating their condemnations for white nationalists and hate groups like the KKK, but without explicitly naming Trump.

Republican Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan on Tuesday called for the removal of a statue of former Supreme Court Justice Roger B. Taney, who penned the Dred Scott decision upholding slavery in 1857, from the lawn of the state house.

“As I said at my inauguration, Maryland has always been a state of middle temperament, which is a guiding principle of our administration. While we cannot hide from our history – nor should we – the time has come to make clear the difference between properly acknowledging our past and glorifying the darkest chapters of our history,” Hogan said in a statement. “With that in mind, I believe removing the Justice Roger B. Taney statue from the State House grounds is the right thing to do, and we will ask the State House Trust to take that action immediately.”

In the past, Hogan has opposed removing the Taney statue. Last year he called the push for the statue to be moved from the state house lawn “political correctness run amok.”

However, the deadly attack in Charlottesville at a counter-protest to a white nationalist rally has pushed lawmakers in the state to again consider whether the Taney statue should remain prominently displayed on public land.

Democratic state House Speaker Michael Busch on Monday called for the statue to be removed from the lawn, arguing that leaving it in place “would send a message that we condone what took place, that slavery is alright.”

Both Bush and Hogan sit on the four-person Maryland State House Trust, which would need to vote in favor of removing the statue from the lawn. The other two members are Democratic Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller and Charles Edson, the chair of the Maryland Historical Trust’s board of trustees.

Miller told the Baltimore Sun that while he would prefer that the statue remain on the state house lawn, he would not block its removal if the other three members of the trust supported its removal. Edson has not weighed in on the matter, but a spokeswoman for the Maryland Historical Trust, Elaine Bachmann, told the newspaper that there is no precedent for a statue being removed from the state house.

The deadly attack in Charlottesville over the weekend has prompted several state and local lawmakers to call for symbols of the Confederacy and slavery to be removed from public land.

President Donald Trump lashed out Tuesday morning in a tweet against three CEOS who left his manufacturing council over his initial failure to condemn white supremacists in the wake of this weekend’s deadly attack in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Trump boasted that those who leave the White House council would be easily replaced, and suggested that the CEOs who quit in protest of his attempt to avoid condemning white supremacists and neo-Nazis were simply grandstanding.

Three CEOs had announced they would leave the council by the time Trump published his tweet. About 15 minutes afterward, a fourth CEO, Scott Paul of the Alliance for American Manufacturing, announced he would leave the council, too.

Kenneth Frazier, the CEO of Merck, was the first to resign from the council in reaction to Trump’s initial comments on the car attack that left one anti-racist protester dead and 19 others injured. In a Monday morning statement, Frazier said that American leaders must “expressions of hatred, bigotry and group supremacy.” Trump then quickly attacked Frazier in a tweet, calling out Merck for high drug prices.

Later Monday, the CEOs of Under Armour and Intel announced they would also leave the council.

After dancing around his support for Donald Trump throughout the 2016 campaign and Trump’s first few months as president, vulnerable Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV) finally acknowledged that he voted for the President in November.

“Yes, I voted for Donald Trump,” he told the Nevada Independent on Monday.

Throughout the 2016 campaign, Heller, who faces a tough re-election fight in 2018, criticized Trump but never said outright that he would not support him for president. The senator said in October 2016 that he was 99 percent sure he would not vote for Trump, but it now appears Heller came around.

In April, Heller told constituents at a town hall that he would support Trump when he agrees with him and try to change his mind when the two differ. For much of the health care debate, Heller was a thorn in Republican leadership’s side. He did end up voting for a motion to proceed on a bill to repeal Obamacare, but the effort went down in flames thanks to three other Republican senators.

Heller was also targeted by a pro-Trump group with ads over his opposition to the Senate bill to repeal and replace Obamacare. However, the super PAC, America First Policies, nixed the ad campaign after complaints from Republican senators.

Four prominent CEOs have resigned from their roles on President Donald Trump’s manufacturing council over his initial failure to condemn white supremacists in the wake of the deadly attack in Charlottesville, Virginia.

The CEO of Intel, Brian Krzanich (pictured above), cited the Charlottesville attack and criticized “leadership in Washington” for attacking those who disagree with them in his statement announcing his resignation from the council.

“I have already made clear my abhorrence at the recent hate-spawned violence in Charlottesville, and earlier today I called on all leaders to condemn the white supremacists and their ilk who marched and committed violence. I resigned because I want to make progress, while many in Washington seem more concerned with attacking anyone who disagrees with them. We should honor – not attack – those who have stood up for equality and other cherished American values. I hope this will change, and I remain willing to serve when it does,” Krzanich said.

“My request—my plea—to everyone involved in our political system is this: set scoring political points aside and focus on what is best for the nation as a whole. The current environment must change, or else our nation will become a shadow of what it once was and what it still can and should be,” he added.

Kevin Plank, the CEO of Under Armour, did not mention Trump’s response to Charlottesville in his statement announcing his resignation, but said he was not interested in engaging in “politics.”

“I love our country and our company and will continue to focus my efforts on inspiring every person that they can do anything through the power of sport which promotes unity, diversity and inclusion,” Plank said.

Tuesday morning, the CEO of the Alliance for American Manufacturing, Scott Paul, announced that he would also leave the council.

His departure came just 15 minutes after Trump published a tweet bashing the CEOs who had left the council already.

The CEO of Merck, Kenneth Frazier, was the first to resign from the council over Trump’s Charlottesville response, issuing a statement Monday morning.

“America’s leaders must honor our fundamental values by clearly rejecting expressions of hatred, bigotry and group supremacy, which run counter to the American ideal that all people are created equal,” he said. “As CEO of Merck and as a matter of personal conscience, I feel a responsibility to take a stand against intolerance and extremism.”

Trump quickly attacked Frazier for resigning by criticizing the company’s drug prices.

A few hours after he delivered a statement condemning hate groups like the Ku Klux Klan and neo-Nazis, President Donald Trump retweeted a post by Jack Posobiec, an alt-right linked activist who promoted the “Pizzagate” conspiracy theory.

Posobiec promoted the “Pizzagate” conspiracy theory, which culminated in a man bringing a gun into a Washington, D.C. restaurant. Recently, Posobiec was angered by the Anti-Defamation League’s decision to list him as a member of the “alt lite,” which the group described as a “loosely-connected movement whose adherents generally shun white supremacist thinking, but who are in step with the alt right in their hatred of feminists and immigrants, among others.”

In response, Posobiec posted a video from the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial saying, “It would be wise of the ADL to remember the history of what happened the last time people started going around making lists of undesirables.”

Following intense criticism for his initial response to the attack in Charlottesville that failed to condemn white nationalists, Trump on Monday gave remarks calling out those hate groups. It took him two days to clarify his comments.

After a deadly attack on a counter-protest at a white nationalist rally Saturday in Charlottesville, Virginia left one person dead and at least 19 others injured, state and local lawmakers have initiated a renewed push to remove Confederate symbols from public spaces.

The speaker of the Maryland state House on Monday called for the removal of a statue of Roger B. Taney, the Supreme Court justice who penned the Dred Scott decision in 1857, from the state house lawn.

State Rep. Michael Busch, a Democrat, told the Baltimore Sun that leaving the monument (pictured above) in place after the attack in Charlottesville, Virginia “would send a message that we condone what took place, that slavery is alright.”

“It’s the appropriate time to remove it,” he said.

Busch sits on the Maryland State House Trust, which would have to vote on the monument’s removal. Republican Gov. Larry Hogan and Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller, a Democrat, also sit on the board but have resisted calls to remove the statue in the past, according to the Baltimore Sun.

In addition, the president of the Jacksonville, Florida, city council has called for the city to take an inventory of its confederate monuments, and said he would then propose legislation to relocate those monuments to museums.

A statue of a Confederate soldier called “Old Joe” also was removed from outside the Alachua County Administration Building in Gainesville, Florida, on Monday, although the removal already had been in the works for a while.

In 2015, a white supremacist’s gunning down of black churchgoers in Charleston, South Carolina had also prompted a wave of calls to remove Confederate statues and other symbols of the Confederacy from public land.

Merck CEO Kenneth Frazier on Monday announced that he would leave the White House’s manufacturing council, citing President Donald Trump’s failure to explicitly condemn white supremacists after a man who espoused extreme views rammed his car into a crowd of counter-protesters in Charlottesville.

“America’s leaders must honor our fundamental values by clearly rejecting expressions of hatred, bigotry and group supremacy, which run counter to the American ideal that all people are created equal,” Frazier said in a statement. “As CEO of Merck and as a matter of personal conscience, I feel a responsibility to take a stand against intolerance and extremism.”

Trump has not explicitly condemned white nationalists following the attack. He instead denounced “this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides.”

Shortly after Frazier announced his resignation, Trump hit back on Twitter criticizing Merck’s drug prices:

In a series of tweets early Monday morning, President Donald Trump signaled that he would like to move past the weekend attack in Charlottesville and his response to the violence, by mentioning issues like trade and the Alabama special election in a series of tweets instead of addressing the violence in Charlottesville.

In his initial statement on the attack at a white nationalist rally and counter-protest, Trump did not explicitly condemn white nationalists, instead denouncing “this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides.” He has yet to personally clarify his remarks or offer any additional condemnations.

But Monday morning, he explicitly went after Democrats in Congress.

Vice President Mike Pence on Sunday evening defended President Donald Trump’s response to the violence at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, and suggested that the media unfairly criticized Trump’s remarks.

“Yesterday President Trump clearly and unambiguously condemned the bigotry, violence and hatred which took place on the streets of Charlottesville,” Pence said at a press conference with the president of Colombia, according to a pool report. “We have no tolerance for hate and violence from white supremacists, neo Nazis or the KKK. These dangerous fringe groups have no place in American public life and in the American debate, and we condemn them in the strongest possible terms.”

“The president also made clear that behavior by others of different militant perspectives are also unacceptable in our political debate and discourse,” Pence added.

However, in his original statement on the attack in Charlottesville, Trump did not specifically call out white nationalists. He instead condemned “this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides.” The White House insisted Sunday that Trump’s condemnation included “white Supremacists, KKK, neo-nazi and all extremist groups.”

Pence suggested that the media unfairly attacked Trump’s vague Saturday statement.

“The president’s call for unity yesterday, though, was from the heart. It was a sincere call, in these two divided times in our country, for those on the extremes to be dismissed and for the vast majority of Americans who cherish freedom, who cherish justice for all, to come together, in new and in renewed ways,” Pence said, according to the pool report. “I will say I take issue with the fact that many in the national media spent more time criticizing the president’s words than they did criticizing those that perpetrated the violence to begin with.”

In an interview with NBC News on Sunday, Pence struggled to explain the “many sides” Trump mentioned in his statement.

NBC’s Peter Alexander asked Pence if it was a “mistake” for Trump to be unclear about who he was condemning.

“I think the President yesterday spoke into a national moment words that the American people needed to hear, that we condemn acts of violence, acts of hatred,” Pence replied.

Alexander then asked Pence to identify the “many sides” Trump mentioned.

Pence did not directly answer the question, instead saying, “As I said today, we condemn in the strongest terms the hate and violence advocated by groups like white supremacist and neo-Nazis and their ilk.”

Alexander again asked Pence to name the “many sides.”

In response, Pence noted that protests have turned violent over the past few years, sometimes against police officers. He then bashed the media for criticizing Trump’s vague statement.

This post has been updated.

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