Trump Condemns Hate Groups After Charlottesville Tragedy

WASHINGTON (NBC News)

President Donald Trump called hate groups like the Ku Klux Klan “repugnant” on Monday and repudiated their racist ideology, two days after similar groups tried to hold a rally in Charlottesville, Virginia that led to violence.

His remarks followed widespread criticism for his failure to forcibly denounce white supremacists in the immediate aftermath of the violent clash between white nationalists and counter-protesters that left 19 injured and one person dead in Charlottesville on Saturday.

“Racism is evil and those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs, including the KKK, neo-Nazis and white supremacists and other hate groups that are repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans,” Trump said in a brief statement from the White House.

Trump faced a backlash from Republicans and Democrats for his statement Saturday condemning the violence displayed on “many sides” during the race-fueled protests in Virginia. One woman was killed and 19 injured after an Ohio man allegedly drove his car through a group of counter-demonstrators.

The president then stayed silent as aides struggled to explain Trump’s message. Vice President Mike Pence initially pinned blame on the media for not focusing more on the violence.

“Many in the media spent an awful lot of time focusing on what the president said and criticisms of what the president said instead of criticizing those who brought that hatred and violence to the streets of Charlottesville, Virginia," Pence told NBC News during his trip to Colombia.

He briefly broke his silence on Twitter earlier on Monday, blasting the African-American head of Merck & Co. Inc. after the CEO resigned from Trump’s American Manufacturing Council because of the White House’s response to Charlottesville.

Trump’s statement came during a brief return to Washington, D.C., where he met with Attorney General Jeff Sessions and FBI Director Chris Wray. The Department of Justice has opened a civil rights investigation into the incident, Trump announced.

“Anyone who acted criminally in this weekend's racist violence, you will be held accountable,” Trump said.

The president has spent most of August at his golf club in New Jersey and also has plans to travel to New York City.

His “working vacation,” as White House aides have dubbed it, comes amid continued struggles for his rocky presidency. Trump’s approval rating in Gallup’s daily tracking poll sits at just 34 percent, the lowest mark yet in the survey.

By comparison, President George W. Bush did not sink that low the poll until April 2006, well after his popularity had taken major hits for the government’s response to Hurricane Katrina and the Iraq war. Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton never dipped so low.

Source : http://www.valleynewslive.com/content/news/Trump-Condemns-Hate-Groups-Calls-Racism-Evil-Days-After-Charlottesville-Violence-440361663.html

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