Trump Panned For ‘Many Sides’ Condemnation Of Virginia Violence

A video captured of a car speeding into protesters at a white power rally in Virginia, Aug 12.

Media: Brennan Gilmore

(Bloomberg) -- Donald Trump condemned hatred, bigotry and violence “on many sides” after clashes at a white nationalists’ rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, capped off by incidents which left three people dead, including a pedestrian and two in a helicopter crash.

The president spoke after two days of violent protests in the city that’s home to the University of Virginia, triggered by a “Unite the Right” rally organized to protest the removal of statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee. The pedestrian died when a car struck counter-protesters. Late on Saturday, the FBI said it had opened a civil-rights investigation into the incident.

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A counter-demonstrator marches down the street after the "Unite the Right" rally, a gathering of white nationalists, neo-Nazis and members of the "alt-right" was declared an unlawful gathering August 12, 2017 in Charlottesville, Virginia. After clashes with anti-fascist protesters and police the rally was declared an unlawful gathering and people were forced out of Lee Park, where a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee is slated to be removed.

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A counter-demonstrator marches down the street after the "Unite the Right" rally, a gathering of white nationalists, neo-Nazis and members of the "alt-right" was declared an unlawful gathering August 12, 2017

... more Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images Image 2 of 30

People receive first-aid after a car accident ran into a crowd of protesters in Charlottesville, VA on August 12, 2017. A vehicle plowed into a crowd of people Saturday at a Virginia rally where violence erupted between white nationalist demonstrators and counter-protesters, witnesses said, causing an unclear number of injuries.

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People receive first-aid after a car accident ran into a crowd of protesters in Charlottesville, VA on August 12, 2017. A vehicle plowed into a crowd of people Saturday at a Virginia rally where violence

... more Photo: PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images Image 3 of 30

White nationalists, neo-Nazis and members of the "alt-right" leap over barricades inside Lee Park during the "Unite the Right" rally August 12, 2017 in Charlottesville, Virginia. After clashes with anti-fascist protesters and police the rally was declared an unlawful gathering and people were forced out of Lee Park, where a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee is slated to be removed.

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White nationalists, neo-Nazis and members of the "alt-right" leap over barricades inside Lee Park during the "Unite the Right" rally August 12, 2017 in Charlottesville, Virginia. After clashes with anti-fascist

... more Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images Image 4 of 30

White nationalists, neo-Nazis and members of the "alt-right" clash with counter-protesters as they attempt to guard the entrance to Lee Park during the "Unite the Right" rally August 12, 2017 in Charlottesville, Virginia. After clashes with anti-fascist protesters and police the rally was declared an unlawful gathering and people were forced out of Lee Park, where a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee is slated to be removed.

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White nationalists, neo-Nazis and members of the "alt-right" clash with counter-protesters as they attempt to guard the entrance to Lee Park during the "Unite the Right" rally August 12, 2017 in

... more Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images Image 5 of 30

Rescue workers move victims on stretchers after car plowed through a crowd of counter-demonstrators marching through the downtown shopping district August 12, 2017 in Charlottesville, Virginia. The car plowed through the crowed following the shutdown of the "Unite the Right" rally by police after white nationalists, neo-Nazis and members of the "alt-right" and counter-protesters clashed near Lee Park, where a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee is slated to be removed.

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Rescue workers move victims on stretchers after car plowed through a crowd of counter-demonstrators marching through the downtown shopping district August 12, 2017 in Charlottesville, Virginia. The car plowed

... more Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images Image 6 of 30

Rescue workers and volunteers help get victims to the hospital after a car plowed through a crowd of counter-demonstrators marching through the downtown shopping district August 12, 2017 in Charlottesville, Virginia. The car plowed through the crowed following the shutdown of the "Unite the Right" rally by police after white nationalists, neo-Nazis and members of the "alt-right" and counter-protesters clashed near Lee Park, where a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee is slated to be removed.

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Rescue workers and volunteers help get victims to the hospital after a car plowed through a crowd of counter-demonstrators marching through the downtown shopping district August 12, 2017 in Charlottesville,

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Protesters march in Charlottesville, Virginia on August 12, 2017. A picturesque Virginia city braced Saturday for a flood of white nationalist demonstrators as well as counter-protesters, declaring a local emergency as law enforcement attempted to quell early violent clashes.

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Protesters march in Charlottesville, Virginia on August 12, 2017. A picturesque Virginia city braced Saturday for a flood of white nationalist demonstrators as well as counter-protesters, declaring a local

... more Photo: PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images Image 8 of 30

Rescue workers and medics tend to many people who were injured when a car plowed through a crowd of anti-facist counter-demonstrators marching through the downtown shopping district August 12, 2017 in Charlottesville, Virginia. The car plowed through the crowed following the shutdown of the "Unite the Right" rally by police after white nationalists, neo-Nazis and members of the "alt-right" and counter-protesters clashed near Lee Park, where a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee is slated to be removed.

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Rescue workers and medics tend to many people who were injured when a car plowed through a crowd of anti-facist counter-demonstrators marching through the downtown shopping district August 12, 2017 in

... more Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images Image 9 of 30

A man has his bloody head bandaged by fellow white nationalists, neo-Nazis and members of the "alt-right" during the "Unite the Right" in Lee Park August 12, 2017 in Charlottesville, Virginia. After clashes with anti-fascist protesters and police the rally was declared an unlawful gathering and people were forced out of Lee Park, where a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee is slated to be removed.

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A man has his bloody head bandaged by fellow white nationalists, neo-Nazis and members of the "alt-right" during the "Unite the Right" in Lee Park August 12, 2017 in Charlottesville, Virginia. After clashes

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Virginia State Police officer aims during clash protests in Charlottesville, VA on August 12, 2017. A picturesque Virginia city braced Saturday for a flood of white nationalist demonstrators as well as counter-protesters, declaring a local emergency as law enforcement attempted to quell early violent clashes.

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Virginia State Police officer aims during clash protests in Charlottesville, VA on August 12, 2017. A picturesque Virginia city braced Saturday for a flood of white nationalist demonstrators as well as

... more Photo: PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images Image 11 of 30

People receive first-aid after a car accident ran into a crowd of protesters in Charlottesville, VA on August 12, 2017. A picturesque Virginia city braced Saturday for a flood of white nationalist demonstrators as well as counter-protesters, declaring a local emergency as law enforcement attempted to quell early violent clashes.

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People receive first-aid after a car accident ran into a crowd of protesters in Charlottesville, VA on August 12, 2017. A picturesque Virginia city braced Saturday for a flood of white nationalist

... more Photo: PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images Image 12 of 30

People receive first-aid after a car accident ran into a crowd of protesters in Charlottesville, VA on August 12, 2017. A picturesque Virginia city braced Saturday for a flood of white nationalist demonstrators as well as counter-protesters, declaring a local emergency as law enforcement attempted to quell early violent clashes.

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People receive first-aid after a car accident ran into a crowd of protesters in Charlottesville, VA on August 12, 2017. A picturesque Virginia city braced Saturday for a flood of white nationalist

... more Photo: PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images Image 13 of 30

People receive first-aid after a car accident ran into a crowd of protesters in Charlottesville, VA on August 12, 2017. A picturesque Virginia city braced Saturday for a flood of white nationalist demonstrators as well as counter-protesters, declaring a local emergency as law enforcement attempted to quell early violent clashes.

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People receive first-aid after a car accident ran into a crowd of protesters in Charlottesville, VA on August 12, 2017. A picturesque Virginia city braced Saturday for a flood of white nationalist

... more Photo: PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images Image 14 of 30

A woman is received first-aid after a car accident ran into a crowd of protesters in Charlottesville, VA on August 12, 2017. A picturesque Virginia city braced Saturday for a flood of white nationalist demonstrators as well as counter-protesters, declaring a local emergency as law enforcement attempted to quell early violent clashes.

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A woman is received first-aid after a car accident ran into a crowd of protesters in Charlottesville, VA on August 12, 2017. A picturesque Virginia city braced Saturday for a flood of white nationalist

... more Photo: PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images Image 15 of 30

A woman is received first-aid after a car accident ran into a crowd of protesters in Charlottesville, VA on August 12, 2017. A picturesque Virginia city braced Saturday for a flood of white nationalist demonstrators as well as counter-protesters, declaring a local emergency as law enforcement attempted to quell early violent clashes.

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A woman is received first-aid after a car accident ran into a crowd of protesters in Charlottesville, VA on August 12, 2017. A picturesque Virginia city braced Saturday for a flood of white nationalist

... more Photo: PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images Image 16 of 30

White nationalists, neo-Nazis and members of the "alt-right" with body armor and combat weapons take refuge in an alleyway after the "Unite the Right" rally was delcared a unlawful gathering by Virginia State Police August 12, 2017 in Charlottesville, Virginia. After clashes with anti-fascist protesters and police the rally was declared an unlawful gathering and people were forced out of Lee Park, where a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee is slated to be removed.

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White nationalists, neo-Nazis and members of the "alt-right" with body armor and combat weapons take refuge in an alleyway after the "Unite the Right" rally was delcared a unlawful gathering by Virginia State

... more Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images Image 17 of 30

People receive first-aid after a car accident ran into a crowd of protesters in Charlottesville, VA on August 12, 2017. A picturesque Virginia city braced Saturday for a flood of white nationalist demonstrators as well as counter-protesters, declaring a local emergency as law enforcement attempted to quell early violent clashes.

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People receive first-aid after a car accident ran into a crowd of protesters in Charlottesville, VA on August 12, 2017. A picturesque Virginia city braced Saturday for a flood of white nationalist

... more Photo: PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images Image 18 of 30

White nationalists, neo-Nazis and members of the "alt-right" clash with counter-protesters in the street after the "Unite the Right" rally was delcared a unlawful gathering by Virginia State Police August 12, 2017 in Charlottesville, Virginia. After clashes with anti-fascist protesters and police the rally was declared an unlawful gathering and people were forced out of Lee Park, where a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee is slated to be removed.

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White nationalists, neo-Nazis and members of the "alt-right" clash with counter-protesters in the street after the "Unite the Right" rally was delcared a unlawful gathering by Virginia State Police August 12,

... more Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images Image 19 of 30

White nationalists, neo-Nazis and members of the "alt-right" are forced out of Lee Park after the Unite the Right rally was declared an unlawful gathering August 12, 2017 in Charlottesville, Virginia. After clashes with anti-facist protesters and police the rally was declared an unlawful gathering and people were forced out of Lee Park, where a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee is slated to be removed.

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White nationalists, neo-Nazis and members of the "alt-right" are forced out of Lee Park after the Unite the Right rally was declared an unlawful gathering August 12, 2017 in Charlottesville, Virginia. After

... more Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images Image 20 of 30

White nationalists, neo-Nazis and members of the "alt-right" take refuge in an alleyway after being hit with pepper spray after the "Unite the Right" rally was declared an unlawful gathering August 12, 2017 in Charlottesville, Virginia. After clashes with anti-facist protesters and police the rally was declared an unlawful gathering and people were forced out of Lee Park, where a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee is slated to be removed.

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White nationalists, neo-Nazis and members of the "alt-right" take refuge in an alleyway after being hit with pepper spray after the "Unite the Right" rally was declared an unlawful gathering August 12, 2017 in

... more Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images Image 21 of 30

White nationalists, neo-Nazis and members of the "alt-right" clash with counter-protesters in the street after the "Unite the Right" rally was delcared a unlawful gathering by Virginia State Police August 12, 2017 in Charlottesville, Virginia. After clashes with anti-fascist protesters and police the rally was declared an unlawful gathering and people were forced out of Lee Park, where a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee is slated to be removed.

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White nationalists, neo-Nazis and members of the "alt-right" clash with counter-protesters in the street after the "Unite the Right" rally was delcared a unlawful gathering by Virginia State Police August 12,

... more Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images Image 22 of 30

White nationalists, neo-Nazis and members of the "alt-right" are forced out of Lee Park after the "Unite the Right" rally was declared an unlawful gathering August 12, 2017 in Charlottesville, Virginia. After clashes with anti-facist protesters and police the rally was declared an unlawful gathering and people were forced out of Lee Park, where a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee is slated to be removed.

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White nationalists, neo-Nazis and members of the "alt-right" are forced out of Lee Park after the "Unite the Right" rally was declared an unlawful gathering August 12, 2017 in Charlottesville, Virginia. After

... more Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images Image 23 of 30

White nationalists, neo-Nazis and members of the "alt-right" are forced out of Lee Park after the "Unite the Right" rally was declared an unlawful gathering August 12, 2017 in Charlottesville, Virginia. After clashes with anti-facist protesters and police the rally was declared an unlawful gathering and people were forced out of Lee Park, where a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee is slated to be removed.

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White nationalists, neo-Nazis and members of the "alt-right" are forced out of Lee Park after the "Unite the Right" rally was declared an unlawful gathering August 12, 2017 in Charlottesville, Virginia. After

... more Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images Image 24 of 30

Anti-fascist counter-protesters wait outside Lee Park to hurl insluts as white nationalists, neo-Nazis and members of the "alt-right" are forced out after the "Unite the Right" rally was declared an unlawful gathering August 12, 2017 in Charlottesville, Virginia. After clashes with anti-fascist protesters and police the rally was declared an unlawful gathering and people were forced out of Lee Park, where a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee is slated to be removed.

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Anti-fascist counter-protesters wait outside Lee Park to hurl insluts as white nationalists, neo-Nazis and members of the "alt-right" are forced out after the "Unite the Right" rally was declared an unlawful

... more Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images Image 25 of 30

White nationalists, neo-Nazis and members of the "alt-right" with body armor and combat weapons evacuate comrades who were pepper sprayed after the "Unite the Right" rally was delcared a unlawful gathering by Virginia State Police August 12, 2017 in Charlottesville, Virginia. After clashes with anti-fascist protesters and police the rally was declared an unlawful gathering and people were forced out of Lee Park, where a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee is slated to be removed.

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White nationalists, neo-Nazis and members of the "alt-right" with body armor and combat weapons evacuate comrades who were pepper sprayed after the "Unite the Right" rally was delcared a unlawful gathering by

... more Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images Image 26 of 30

White nationalists, neo-Nazis and members of the "alt-right" clash with police as they are forced out of Lee Park after the "Unite the Right" rally was declared an unlawful gathering August 12, 2017 in Charlottesville, Virginia. After clashes with anti-facist protesters and police the rally was declared an unlawful gathering and people were forced out of Lee Park, where a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee is slated to be removed.

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White nationalists, neo-Nazis and members of the "alt-right" clash with police as they are forced out of Lee Park after the "Unite the Right" rally was declared an unlawful gathering August 12, 2017 in

... more Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images Image 27 of 30

A man wears a 'Make America Great Again' hat during the "Unite the Right" rally August 12, 2017 in Charlottesville, Virginia. After clashes with anti-fascist protesters and police the rally was declared an unlawful gathering and people were forced out of Lee Park, where a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee is slated to be removed.

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A man wears a 'Make America Great Again' hat during the "Unite the Right" rally August 12, 2017 in Charlottesville, Virginia. After clashes with anti-fascist protesters and police the rally was declared an

... more Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images Image 28 of 30

White nationalists, neo-Nazis and members of the "alt-right" exchange insluts with counter-protesters as they attempt to guard the entrance to Lee Park during the "Unite the Right" rally August 12, 2017 in Charlottesville, Virginia. After clashes with anti-fascist protesters and police the rally was declared an unlawful gathering and people were forced out of Lee Park, where a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee is slated to be removed.

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White nationalists, neo-Nazis and members of the "alt-right" exchange insluts with counter-protesters as they attempt to guard the entrance to Lee Park during the "Unite the Right" rally August 12, 2017 in

... more Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images Image 29 of 30

Counter-protesters hold a line against white nationalists, neo-Nazis and members of the "alt-right" near the entrance to Lee Park during the "Unite the Right" rally August 12, 2017 in Charlottesville, Virginia. After clashes with anti-fascist protesters and police the rally was declared an unlawful gathering and people were forced out of Lee Park, where a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee is slated to be removed.

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Counter-protesters hold a line against white nationalists, neo-Nazis and members of the "alt-right" near the entrance to Lee Park during the "Unite the Right" rally August 12, 2017 in Charlottesville, Virginia.

... more Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images Image 30 of 30

A white supremacist is cut below his eye during clashes with counter-protesters at Lee Park after the "Unite the Right" rally was declared an unlawful gathering August 12, 2017 in Charlottesville, Virginia. After clashes with anti-fascist protesters and police the rally was declared an unlawful gathering and people were forced out of Lee Park, where a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee is slated to be removed.

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A white supremacist is cut below his eye during clashes with counter-protesters at Lee Park after the "Unite the Right" rally was declared an unlawful gathering August 12, 2017 in Charlottesville, Virginia.

... more Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images Trump Panned for `Many Sides' Comment on Virginia Violence (2) 1 / 30 Back to Gallery

“We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry, violence -- on many sides,” Trump said in brief remarks in Bedminster, New Jersey, before signing legislation extending a program allowing veterans to receive private health care. “We must love each other, respect each other and cherish our history -- together.”

Even as Trump called for unity, many criticized the president -- and his reference to “many sides” -- for not strongly coming out against the type of far-right groups that supported his campaign and organized the weekend’s events. Among them was Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, who lost to Trump for the Republican nomination for president last year, and who tweeted that it was “Very important for the nation to hear Potus describe events in Charlottesville for what they are, a terror attack by white supremacists.”

Murder Charge

The Charlottesville police chief said a male driver was in custody after a 32-year-old woman died and 19 sustained injuries ranging from minor to life-threatening when a car hit counter-protesters in downtown Charlottesville. Another 15 injuries were reported in connection with the protests, police said. Two state police troopers died when their helicopter crashed nearby.

The city government identified the driver as James Alex Fields Jr., a 20-year-old Ohio resident, and said he’s been charged with one count of second-degree murder, three counts of malicious wounding and one of a hit-and-run. The Richmond Federal Bureau of Investigation Field Office and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Virginia, said they had “opened a civil-rights investigation into the circumstances of the deadly vehicular incident.”

“The violence and deaths in Charlottesville strike at the heart of American law and justice,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a statement, commenting on the FBI’s probe. “When such actions arise from racial bigotry and hatred, they betray our core values and cannot be tolerated. ”

State of Emergency

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Earlier Saturday, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, a Democrat, declared a state of emergency after violent run-ins between thousands of the demonstrators, counter-protesters and supporters of the activist group Black Lives Matter. Some of the white nationalists reportedly chanted anti-Semitic slogans. Television images showed police in riot gear among the crowd.

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.”

By contrast, in his comments in New Jersey and in an earlier Twitter message Saturday, Trump avoided direct references to the white nationalists, neo-Nazis, neo-Confederates and other right-wing activists who congregated in the city and on the campus of UVA, which was founded in 1819 by Thomas Jefferson.

In his tweet, he 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!” He later added that the situation in Charlottesville was “sad!" Trump also called for “a swift restoration of law and order.”

‘White Americans’

While he condemned Saturday’s violence, Trump has not always forcefully denounced far-right nationalists, early supporters of his presidential campaign.

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.”

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.”

Lawmakers were also quick to respond.

“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,” said Senator Chris Murphy, a Connecticut Democrat, in a statement.

The Congressional Black Caucus tweeted that Trump’s “false equivalency, dog whistles are sad. White supremacy is to blame.”

Call Out ‘Evil’

Some of Trump’s fellow Republicans were just as blunt.

“We should call evil by its name,” said Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah. “My brother didn’t give his life fighting Hitler for Nazi ideas to go unchallenged here at home.”

Texas Senator Ted Cruz, another contender who lost to Trump for the Republican nomination for president, described the car-ramming incident as a “grotesque act of domestic terrorism,” and called for an investigation.

“Mr. President - we must call evil by its name. These were white supremacists and this was domestic terrorism,” Senator Cory Gardner, a Colorado Republican, said on Twitter. And Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida said on Twitter that “White supremacists, Neo-Nazis and anti-Semites are the antithesis of our American values. There are no other ‘sides’ to hatred and bigotry.”

First Lady Melania Trump, in a rare foray into a contentious issue, tweeted earlier that “Our country encourages freedom of speech, but let’s communicate w/o hate in our hearts. No good comes from violence.”

Repugnant Spectacle

More than an hour before Trump’s first tweet, House Speaker Paul Ryan had offered a comment, saying on Twitter, “The views fueling the spectacle in Charlottesville are repugnant. Let it only serve to unite Americans against this kind of vile bigotry.”

Michael Cohen, the president’s personal attorney and co-founder of the National Diversity Coalition for Trump, said he was “outraged and disgusted with what is occurring right now in Charlottesville,” noting that he’s the son of a Holocaust survivor.

“As a group that consists of millions of Americans of different races, religions, creeds and colors -- these actions will not go unnoticed,” he said. “The coalition stands with and supports the president’s message condemning these individuals and what they stand for."

--With assistance from Laura J. Keller

To contact the reporters on this story: Billy House in Washington at bhouse5@bloomberg.net, Jennifer Epstein in Bedminster, New Jersey at jepstein32@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Bernard Kohn at bkohn2@bloomberg.net, Ros Krasny, Jake Lloyd-Smith

©2017 Bloomberg L.P.

Source : http://www.stamfordadvocate.com/business/article/Trump-Condemns-Hate-and-Violence-in-11788328.php

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