White nationalists, neo-Nazis and "alt-right" members clash with counter-protesters in Charlottesville on Aug. 12.Photographer: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
Clashes on Saturday between groups protesting the city of Charlottesville’s decision to remove a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee, and those opposed to the rally, left more than a dozen people injured.
Television images showed
among the crowd, and some of the protesters chanted anti-Semitic slogans. Three people later died, including two state troopers killed in a helicopter crash after responding to the scene. The Federal Bureau of Investigation opened a civil-rights probe into the driver of a car who slammed into a crowd of counter-protesters, killing one and injuring over a dozen. > police in riot gear
The investigation is also looking at whether others were involved in planning the attack, according to a Justice Department official familiar with the probe.
In his initial response via Twitter, Trump said, “We ALL must be united & condemn all that hate stands for. There is no place for this kind of violence in America. Lets come together as one!” Trump also called for “a swift restoration of law and order.”
We ALL must be united & condemn all that hate stands for. There is no place for this kind of violence in America. Lets come together as one!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump)
August 12, 2017
But later, during a bill-signing ceremony in Bedminster, New Jersey, Trump described Saturday’s rally as an “egregious display of hatred, bigotry, violence -- on many sides.” That suggested the president was placing equal blame on the white nationalists and neo-Nazi groups that organized the event, and those protesting them.
"We have no tolerance for hate and violence from white supremacists, neo-Nazis or the KKK,” Pence said at his press conference in Colombia. “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 also criticized media coverage of Trump’s reaction, saying it should have been focused on the actions of extremist groups.
"We should be putting the attention where it belongs, and that is on those extremist groups that need to be pushed out of the public debate entirely and discredited for the hate groups and dangerous fringe groups that they are,” Pence said.
Initial intimations of equivalence of blame didn’t sit well with two of the most senior Republicans in the Senate, John McCain of Arizona and Orrin Hatch of Utah. McCain said Saturday’s events marked “a confrontation between our better angels and our worst demons,” while Hatch said, “My brother didn’t give his life fighting Hitler for Nazi ideas to go unchallenged here at home.”
US President Donald Trump speaks to the press about protests in Charlottesville on Aug. 12.Photographer: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images
“Donald Trump mocked Barack Obama for not calling Islamic Terrorism by its name. Now HE must call White Supremacy Terrorism by its name,” tweeted Joe Scarborough, the MSNBC “Morning Joe” co-host and former Republican congressman from Florida.
Charlottesville Mayor Mike Signer also
on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” and laid blame on Trump for “intentional courting” of right-wing extremist groups and then failing to “put to bed all those different efforts.” >called it terrorism Murder Charge
A 32-year-old woman died and 19 sustained injuries ranging from minor to life-threatening in the car-ramming incident, which had echoes of deadly attacks in London this year, France in 2016, and other places.
First-aid personnel at the scene after car ran into a crowd of protesters.Photographer: Paul J. Richards/AFP via Getty Images
The city government identified the driver of the vehicle, a Dodge Challenger, as James Alex Fields Jr., 20, of Maumee, Ohio. He’s been charged with one count of second-degree murder, three counts of malicious wounding and one of a hit-and-run.
Photographs from Saturday’s rally showed Fields standing with members of the group Vanguard America, which is
by the Anti-Defamation league as white supremacists with ties to the neo-Nazi movement. >described
Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, a Democrat, declared a state of emergency on Saturday after violent run-ins between thousands of the demonstrators, counter-protesters and supporters of the activist group Black Lives Matter.
At a press conference, McAuliffe addressed “the white supremacists and the Nazis who came into Charlottesville today -- our message is plain and simple: go home. You are not wanted in this great Commonwealth. Shame on you.”
The Southern Poverty Law Center, a civil rights group based in Montgomery, Alabama, sent a blast fund-raising email calling Trump’s comments about unity “hollow.”
One of the best-known white supremacists in the U.S, former Ku Klux Klan leader and Louisiana lawmaker David Duke, tweeted at Trump: “I would recommend you take a good look in the mirror & remember it was White Americans who put you in the presidency, not radical leftists.”
Lawmakers piled on.
“Make no mistake –- these insidious psychologies have been given license to be brought out in the open air by a president that openly seized upon these hatreds during his campaign, and continues to traffic in divisive rhetoric and hateful policies in the White House,” Senator Chris Murphy, a Connecticut Democrat, said in a statement.
The Congressional Black Caucus tweeted that Trump’s “false equivalency, dog whistles are sad. White supremacy is to blame.”
.— CBC (@OfficialCBC)
@realDonaldTrump: "Both sides, law & order..." Your false equivalency, dog whistles are sad. White supremacy is to blame. #Charlottesville August 12, 2017