President Donald Trump condemned the white nationalist groups that rallied in Charlottesville, Virginia on Saturday in a statement delivered at the White House.
The strongly-worded statement followed his initial condemnation Saturday of “hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides.” He also tweeted on Saturday that “we ALL must be united and condemn all that hate stands for.”
Many liberals and conservatives criticized the president for failing to specifically call out the white supremacists, neo-Nazis, and KKK members that organized and participated in Saturday’s rally. The demonstration was held to protest the removal of Confederate statues. Counter-protesters, including members of Antifa, also gathered.
Tensions devolved into street brawls. A state of emergency was declared in the city. Violence climaxed when 20-year-old James Alex Fields Jr. of Ohio, who expressed Nazi sympathies, rammed a Dodge Challenger into a group of counter-protesters. Heather Heyer, a 32-year-old woman protesting the white nationalists, was killed. Nineteen others were injured.
Trump began his statement Monday with some comments about the economy. He then went on to condemn “the KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and other hate groups.” Read his remarks below, beginning with his comments on the Charlottesville events.
I would like to provide the nation with an update on the ongoing federal response to the horrific attack and violence that was witnessed by everyone. I just met with FBI director Christopher Wray, and Attorney General Jeff Sessions. The Department of Justice has opened a civil rights investigation into the deadly car attack that killed one innocent American and wounded 20 others. To anyone who acted criminally in this weekend’s racist violence, you will be held fully accountable. Justice will be delivered.
As I said on Saturday, we condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry, and violence. It has no place in America. And as I have said many times before, no matter the color of our skin, we all live under the same laws. We all salute the same great flag, and we are all made by the same almighty God. We must love each other, show affection for each other, and unite together in condemnation of hatred, bigotry, and violence. We must rediscover the bonds of love and loyalty that bring us together as Americans.
Racism is evil. And those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs, including the KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and other hate groups that are repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans. We are a nation founded on the truth that all of us are created equal. We are equal in the eyes of our creator, we are equal under the law, and we are equal under our Constitution. Those who spread violence in the name of bigotry strike at the very core of America.
Two days ago a young American woman, Heather Heyer, was tragically killed. Her death fills us with grief and we send her family our thoughts, our prayers and our love. We also mourn the two Virginia State Troopers who died service to their community, their commonwealth and their country. Troopers Jay Cullen and Berke Bates exemplify the very best of America, and our hearts go out to their families, their friends and every member of American law enforcement. These three fallen Americans embody the goodness and decency of our nation.
In times such as these, America has always shown its true character, responding to hate with love, division with unity, and violence with an unwavering resolve for justice. As a candidate, I promised to restore law and order to our country, and our federal law enforcement agencies are following through on that pledge. We will spare no resource in fighting so that every American child can grow up free from violence and fear. We will defend and protect the sacred rights of all Americans, and we will work together, so that every citizen in this blessed land is free to follow their dreams in their hearts and to express the love and joy in their souls. Thank you, God bless you, and God bless America. Thank you very much.
Read more at The Stream.