Donald Trump used the White House podium to condemn White supremacists who incited violence in the deadly Charlottesville protests over the weekend, which led to one fatality and several injuries.
“Racism is evil and those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs, including the K.K.K., neo-Nazis, white supremacists and other hate groups that are repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans,” Trump said.
Trump faced severe criticism after issuing initial statements on Saturday where he blamed “both sides” for the violent eruptions in Charlottesville.
Heather Heyer, a 32-year-old White woman, was killed after James Alex Fields Jr., a 20-year-old White supremacist, drove a Dodge Charger into a crowd of counter-protesters. Heyer, along with several others, were gathered to demonstrate in opposition to a large group of KKK members and neo-Nazi’s who descended upon the town to protest the removal of a confederate statue.
James was charged Saturday with second-degree murder, three counts of malicious wounding and failure to stop in an accident that resulted in death.
Several local government officials, including Virginia governor, Terry McAuliffe, spoke swiftly and directly in the wake of the terrorist attack. McAuliffe ordered the White supremacists to go home and voiced that they were not welcome in the state.
During an appearance on “Face The Nation.” Charlottesville mayor Michael Signer called out Trump’s past rhetoric as problematic and signaled that the president helped contribute to the stirred up hate which bubbled over on Saturday.
“He made a choice in his presidential campaign and the folks around with him to go right to the gutter, to play on our worst prejudices, and I think you’re seeing a direct line from what happened here this weekend to those choices,” he said.
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SOURCE: The New York Times