President Trump said he condemns hate “on many sides” after violent clashes at a white nationalist rally Saturday in Charlottesville, Virginia left one dead and at least 19 injured.
“We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides, on many sides,” Trump said in a brief statement. “It has been going on for a long time in our country – not Donald Trump, not Barack Obama. It has been going on for a long, long time. It has no place in America.”
"We condemn in the possible strongest terms this display of hatred, bigotry and violence," Pres. Trump says. https://t.co/tZfyR3BB6h pic.twitter.com/ZqWGyNR8Mu
— CBS News (@CBSNews) August 12, 2017
In his remarks, Trump failed to mention the white nationalists who planned the rally to protest Charlottesville’s decision to remove a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee from Emancipation Park.
“What is vital now is a swift restoration of law and order and the protection of innocent lives,” Trump said. “No citizen should ever fear for their safety and security in our society. And no child should ever be afraid to go outside and play or be with their parents and have a good time.”
Trump said he spoke with Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe and they “agreed that the hate and division must stop.” McAuliffe declared a state of emergency after hundreds of people chanted, threw punches, hurled water bottles and unleashed chemical sprays on each other at the rally.
He concluded his statement by saying, “We have to heal the wounds of our country.”
Trump tweeted earlier in the day that “there is no place for this kind of violence in America.”
Minutes before Trump spoke, Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued a statement saying he “stands united behind the President condemning the violence in Charlottesville.”
MORE: AG Sessions on Charlottesville: "This kind of violence is totally contrary to American values and can never be tolerated." pic.twitter.com/vEeqZHb6d3
— ABC News (@ABC) August 12, 2017
However, several Republican senators have come forward in criticizing the President for not calling out the rally’s organizers as white supremacists.
Very important for the nation to hear @potus describe events in #Charlottesville for what they are, a terror attack by #whitesupremacists
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) August 12, 2017
Mr. President – we must call evil by its name. These were white supremacists and this was domestic terrorism. https://t.co/PaPNiPPAoW
— Cory Gardner (@SenCoryGardner) August 12, 2017
What " WhiteNatjonalist" are doing in Charlottesville is homegrown terrorism that can't be tolerated anymore that what Any extremist does
— ChuckGrassley (@ChuckGrassley) August 12, 2017