President Donald Trump on Monday finally condemned “white supremacists and other hate groups,” two days after declining to do so when violence erupted at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.
“Racism is evil, and those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs, including the KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists,and other hate groups that are repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans,” Trump said in unscheduled remarks at the White House, where he arrived Monday on a day trip as part of his two-week “working vacation.”
He said “anyone who acted criminally in this weekend’s racist violence” would be
“held fully accountable.”
“Justice will be delivered,” Trump said. “As I said on Saturday, we condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence.”
He faced wide backlash for more equivocal remarks he made after violence erupted Saturday at the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. In that statement, Trump failed to condemn white supremacy and instead condemned “hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides — on many sides.”
A White House spokesperson on Sunday claimed that “of course” Trump’s statement covered “white Supremacists, KKK, neo-nazi and all extremist groups,” though his remarks were far from categorical on the matter.
White House homeland security adviser Tom Bossert claimed Sunday that Trump avoided specifically condemning white supremacy so he would not “dignify the names of these groups of people,” though Trump has for years made a talking point of specifically naming violence committed by Muslims.