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Under pressure, Trump condemns white supremacy after Charlottesville violence

White nationalist demonstrators walk through town after their rally was closed down near Lee Park in Charlottesville, Va., on Aug. 12, 2017. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

WASHINGTON (USA Today) – After two days of public pressure to renounce white supremacists at the root of street violence in Charlottesville, Va., President Trump declared Monday that “racism is evil” and announced that the Justice Department will open a civil rights investigation into the deadly car attack that left one woman dead.

“To anyone who acted criminally in this weekend’s racist violence: You will be held fully accountable. Justice will be delivered,” Trump said after returning to the White House to meet with top federal law enforcement officials on Monday (Aug. 14).

Denouncing racism, Trump said in a prepared speech that “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.”

Trump’s remarks came after an avalanche of criticism for his initial response to the Charlottesville violence between white supremacists and counterprotesters on Saturday, which he blamed on “many sides.”

In that statement, Trump did not directly call out white nationalists – some dressed in militia-type garb and carrying weapons – who rallied to protest the city’s planned removal of a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee. Officials tried to shut down the “Unite the Right” rally and declared it an unlawful assembly.

On Monday, Trump met with Attorney General Jeff Sessions and newly confirmed FBI Director Chris Wray hours after the attorney general said the Charlottesville car attack appears to fit the legal definition of domestic terrorism.

A 20-year-old Ohio man, James Alex Fields Jr., 20, has been charged with second-degree murder, three counts of malicious wounding and one count of hit and run after driving a car into a crowd of people protesting the demonstration in the city where the University of Virginia is located. The crash killed one woman, Heather Heyer, and wounded 19 others.

“You can be sure we will charge and advance the investigation toward the most serious charges that can be brought because this is unequivocally an unacceptable evil attack,” Sessions said on ABC’s Good Morning America.

Fields, who authorities say slammed his car through a crowd of counterprotesters at the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Va., was denied bond.

After Trump’s initial statement on Saturday, numerous Democrats and Republicans called on the president to be more forceful. “Mr. President – we must call evil by its name,” tweeted Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo.

In the ensuing controversy, a Trump appointee, Merck CEO Kenneth Frazier, resigned from the president’s manufacturing council on Monday. “America’s leaders must honor our fundamental values by clearly rejecting expressions of hatred, bigotry and group supremacy,” he said. Trump quickly lashed out at Frazier on Twitter, with a jab over what he called “ripoff” drug prices.

Some Republicans said they hope that Trump’s stronger statement Monday will help put racial turmoil behind him.

“There was absolutely no reason for this to take 48 hours,”‘ said Texas-based political consultant Matt Mackowiak. “My sense is most of the air is out of this particular outrage and the White House can go back on offense on trade and other issues.”

Susan Bro – mother of Heyer, who was killed on Saturday – issued a statement thanking Trump for Monday’s “words of comfort” and denunciation of “those who promote violence and hatred.” Trump and Bro also paid tribute to a pair of Virginia state troopers who died in a helicopter crash while patrolling the demonstrations in Charlottesville.

Yet it did not quell all the criticism. Jonathan Greenblatt, national director of the Anti-Defamation League, called Trump’s latest statement “far from sufficient.”

Describing the civil rights investigation as the “bare minimum,” Greenblatt said on Twitter that the “lack of real plan is mind blowing.”

Others continued to question the delay in Trump speaking out against racism.

“The President of the United States should not have to be publicly shamed into condemning neo-Nazis and white supremacists,” tweeted Rep. Dan Kildee, D-Mich.

Civil rights groups called Trump’s statement grudging at best.

“While today’s delayed words are welcome, they should have been spoken on Saturday,” said Vanita Gupta, president and CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. “This unconscionable delay has undermined his moral credibility as our nation’s leader.”

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  • As expected, we are seeing a slew of RNS articles on this issue. No problem, but…

    In every single article, ONLY the hateful, bigoted, violent, weaponized right-wing KKK-Nazi’s are being identified by name.

    Conspicuously absent from every single article, is the name identification of the equally hateful, bigoted, violent, weaponized left-wing gangs involved in the event. The most prominent were Antifa and Black Lives Matter, according to Newsweek.

    Why the omission, folks? Photos, videos and news reports clearly show that ALL the gangs were engaged in verbal and physical violence, weapons and all. The police had to raise their shields and use tear gas against ALL of the gangs, not just one.

    So how come these RNS article writers refuse to at least say the names of the left-wing violent extremist bigots involved, even though they clearly named the right-wing violent extremist bigots?

  • Way to ignore and excuse an act of domestic terrorism here. Neo-nazis sure have a friend in you.

    So how many members of BLM and Antifa committed acts of domestic terrorism/mass murder last weekend? None. Same can’t be said of the neo-nazis. So nobody needs to care here.

    Do you even have clear reports of people injured by these “left wing gangs” from the events in Virginia? Nope. Not even from Neo-nazis itching to consider themselves sympathetic victims and martyrs.

    Right wingers are looking for groups to take attention away from their full fledged support of white supremacists in the mainstream of their political movement. So they conflate a small, way out of mainstream group with long standing domestic terrorists who are so part of the “normal” political culture they consider POTUS one of their own.

  • I know of not one public figure white person, or group, who wishes to rule over the non-white races.
    Can anyone name ONE?
    White “Supremacy” doesn’t exist. Desiring an Ethnic Nation State does not constitute “Supremacy”.
    Otherwise Israel would be the most Supremacist state/nation in the Universe.

  • Sorry Spuddie, but you don’t have ANY rational excuses on this one aspect.

    If the two of us should ever get into a public street-fight against each other (God forbid), with visible weapons in hand, AND the police have to raise their shields against us and put tear-gas on us, I assure you that BOTH our names will be fully trumpeted in the paper, online, and TV news.

    It won’t matter what spins we offer. BOTH of us will get named, just for the fracas and the police response alone, even if nobody was injured.

    But in multiple articles, RNS readers have been given the name of ONLY ONE of the three nationally prominent gangs involved in the tragic, fatal gang-fight at Charlotteville.

    Journalistic ethics and fairness, as well as rational common sense, require that the OTHER TWO nationally prominent gangs be publicly identified as well.

  • Good analysis FL. But I want to know also why the governor, the mayor, and the chief of police did not intervene sooner. The governor and mayor are out there condemning the violence – which they should – but are not explaining why they let it go on for so long that it got out of control. Public officials can be excused for misjudging a lot of things but misjudging this is not one of them. The leaders of VA and Charlottesville should be held accountable – but who are the libs blaming most? DT.

  • Trump’s Monday comments on racists and neo-Mazis came off as scripted for him, whereas his mealy-mouthed comment on Saturday seemed like the real Trump. The sooner this oaf is out of the White House the better off our country will be. The problem is that his VP, Pence, though different, is really just as bad.

  • You represent a social plague that infects this world. Your type of thinking kills the host it sets itself up in just like a cancer.

  • Wow. Just what is it about my comment that would qualify as a ‘social plague’?
    Can you answer my question….do you know of one white person or group who publically declares they want to rule over non-white people?

  • Of course I do. The “street fight” was a nothing event. The neo-nazis were better armed than the police. Whatever you think happened, it wasn’t the all out riotous melee you are envisioning.

    Several days in and no reports that there were serious injuries caused to the neo-nazis by “Antifa”. Not even from neo-nazis themselves. The only newsworthy item being the ACT OF DOMESTIC TERRORISM WHICH LEFT ONE DEAD AND 19 INJURED.

    Your pathological need to focus on the least important actors in the events in Charlottesville does nothing but enable white supremacists.

  • To equate Black Lives Matter and Antifa with Nazis is an obscene gesture on the part of people trying to find someway of dragging others down to the level of nazi white nationalist fascists. Please remember – the nazi religion is about race – the subjugation and the elimination of specific races. Your “equivalency” argument is a non-starter.
    The issue of racism needs to be talked about whether left or right. How is the term used? How is it defined? Whenever there is “ism” there is the danger of, if not, outright idolatry – at least according to the Ten Commandments. Nazis made race the idol and the defining mark – hence “Blut und Boden” being chanted.

  • Hmm. Glad you were able to somehow determine that all of the Antifa-inflicted injuries weren’t “serious” (although you haven’t yet defined the term “serious”, plus you remain completely silent about injuries inflicted by Black Lives Matter.)

    But the fact is that if the police have to use their shields and put tear gas on you, and your gang-fight opponent’s name shows up in the media, then your name is supposed to show up too.

    Your defending the violent hateful (and armed) Antifa is as strange as it is surprising, but that’s your call.

    However. a *news* gig needs to identify the names of three out of three nationally prominent hateful violent gangs involved at Charlotteville, NOT merely one out of three.

    Can we agree on that much?

  • I am calling out your entire argument as nonsense. Not supported by facts, not supported by common sense. An act of pure deflection and avoidance of events.

    Neo-Nazis committed an act of Domestic terrorism at a rally which was held over the weekend which left 1 dead and 19 injured. The incident was applauded by the neo-nazis. Our president ignored reference to the incident and the perpetrator until it became too politically inconvenient to do so.

    No Antifa and BLM are not even close to being on par with white supremacists for being the threat to our nation you are making them out to be. Such a threat it overshadowed an act of lethal terrorism, causing you to ignore and avoid it altogether.

  • As with Spuddie, you’re free to claim that the proven violent, proven hateful, proven bigoted, proven destructive Antifa and Black Lives Matter gangs are somehow more angelic than their KKK-Nazi counterparts.

    But the fact is, at Charlotteville, they simply weren’t. The photos don’t lie. The audio don’t lie. The videos don’t lie. The weapons don’t lie. The police tear-gas don’t lie.

    That’s why the names of all three nationally prominent violent gangs need to be named in RNS articles — not just one out of three.

  • Nope. Because it had nothing to do with the incidents last weekend. It is pure deflection.

    But “anti-white” is a very unusual signifier of one’s position. Being that the only people who ever bandy it about are white supremacists.

  • People should stop demanding Trump speak out against and condemn the white supremacists. His campaign and presidency were all about enabling these hate groups. He only will speak out if something is in it for his narcissistic self. He may actually be planning to pardon racist Joe Arpaio shortly. Another bone he tosses to white supremacists at exactly this time when the racists are looking for him to shore up his hate filled base.

    Sadly, once we recognize we have a president who sympathizes with these KKK and Nazi types…we can stop trying to redeem him…Instead defeat him and his white nationalist base by using their very hatred against them. A new generation is already in place, under 25-years old, less than 50% white…Trump, the Nazi’s, KKK and hate-filled evangelicals are the examples we can show to them…They will not choose to follow Trump, David Duke, Falwell, Spencer, Graham, white supremacy or preach hate while hiding behind baby Jesus

  • “…Your type of thinking kills the host it sets itself up in just like a cancer…..”
    Let us dissect your comment. I live in the USA. I will assume the “Host” in this case would be the Caucasian Race; since they are the ‘host’ of this Country. So my type of thinking — which would be that I am an advocate for the Caucasian Race; I support, endorse and follow the 14 words. So how am I a “cancer” to the host race of this country?
    You sir are clearly ‘anti-white’. Anti-Racist is Code Word for anti-White.
    Who is the racist??? Answer: YOU.

  • What!!!??? Say it isn’t so. Anti-Racists are peaceful, loving people. ONLY Whites are racist. Whites were born anti-Semitic and Racist. It is in our DNA.
    Btw…when white people go over to Africa and dig wells and provide medical service………….this is Supremacy. Don’t you know. 😉

  • You should watch — “The Greatest Story Never Told” by Dennis Wise. Follow that up with “Communism by the Back Door”.
    Hitler is the most slandered man in all of history. I wonder why.

  • Ouch. You hurt my feeling.
    You are not the “host” you’re either part of the dog, or you’re a tick.
    Tick tock doc.

  • Cheeto just came out defending the Nazis here. He gets no sympathy or any of the enabling POS that help him along in doing so. The fact that you are trying to divert the discussion away from the act of terrorism is reprehensible dishonest garbage. Cheeto is your guy. Have fun with that. I feel no need to take him or his supporters seriously from now.

  • So are the Jews the source of communism or predatory capitalism? If both, they are working in counterproductive directions. You guys seem all over the place on that. 🙂

  • Hey, you share the same side of the argument as the resident neo Nazi! Not surprising.

    Trump also decided to ignore the terrorism of the neo Nazis here to focus on the wrong people at blame.

    I can’t even pretend Trump and his supporters are worth taking seriously. Trump has officially made himself the white supremacist president. You have zero to say on that.

  • “I know of not one public figure white person, or group, who wishes to rule over the non-white races.”

    They would rather murder or deport them instead. 🙂

  • Well, I did congratulate you when Trump caved in to the PC-Police, didn’t I?

    Yes indeedy, I did congratulate you in good faith. But now it looks like Trump has found his courage again, yes? So now I gotta retract it. NO congratulations for YOU, sir!

    “Blame on both sides” Trump correctly said. (And I loved the way he interrupted and shut down those foolio PC journalists. Now THAT’s the American way!)

  • Yep, he’s gone full Third Reich…and says George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Robert E Lee are equivalent.

  • That didn’t even last 24 hours. Trump came out in full unambiguous support of the nazis. Even after they committed an act of terrorism.
    Most Republicans have been sent diving for cover. Chuck Schumer and Marco Rubio found common ground in condemning Trump. Paul Ryan even managed to sound moral in doing so.

    You can call it.courage if you want. But at this point If you are supporting him, you’re supporting Nazis.

    Have fun with that.

    You can high five Roy Hobs in solidarity. Though he would never do it with you in person. 🙂

  • Did Thomas Jefferson own slaves, Damien? How about that George Washington cat?

    So if our goal is to fight racism and fight racists in 2017, why ARE we allowing any statues of Thomas J and George W to remain standing?

  • the instant you, take to the side of any race you are a nazi. nazism is, nothing more than socialism with a racial context. the wrongs on all sides, shall never make any of them right. and taking any side, in this matter shall definitely make you wrong.

  • so in other words, you believe the actions of the white nazi groups justifies the action of the black nazi groups?

    and from what, i have gleaned only the white supremacist groups had legal permit to demonstrate. the counter-protesters were demonstrating illegally. and the mayor, told the police to stand down, and not disperse the illegal demonstrators. so the mayors, failure to uphold the law makes him the most responsible for this tragedy. he, is guilty of malfeasance of office resulting in any deaths or injury.

    nor do i believe anyone’s hatred of trump going to improve the hatred, in this nation. when he rightfully, blamed all sides involved in this incident. as he refused to be a racist, supporting your favored nazi race.

  • The debate has shifted already, Spuddie. Trump actually brought up a strong rational point concerning the original topic (Lee’s statue), which I have asked Damien about.

    But the media no longer cares about the statue. Trump’s points about “violence, blame on both sides” is PROVEN already by video & media reports, but the media don’t care.

    The liberal media now believes it can stick the label “racist” on Trump, AND sell that label to a too-busy, soundbites-only American public.

    As you can see, some Republicans are starting to believe the media sicarios will succeed. Running scared, they’re not even trying to study or seek truth on this issue anymore.

  • who, had a legal permit to demonstrate and who did not have a legal permit to demonstrate? and what fool, issued the legal permit? and what fool, ordered the police to stand down? this, is what i look at.

    as far as i am concerned, the ones not having a permit to demonstrate are the terrorists.

  • well keep up your, antiG-D rhetoric and i am certain ELOHEEM can command a lot worse to happen to you all.

  • They came carrying weapons to keep the police from doing their job and were trying to provoke a violent confrontation. One which didn’t happen. So they decided to kill people using an ISIS style car attack.

    The police were scared of the heavily and better armed neo-nazis. It is only their patience and good work which kept it from being a gun battle/blood bath.

    I guess you were so overwhelmed with moral equivalence that you ignore the act of domestic terrorism which killed one person and left 19 other severely injured.

    As far as I am concerned, you are a Neo-Nazi supporter looking to excuse, deny or ignore an act of attempted mass murder.

  • How about this: we can keep statues to people who helped build this country and tear down the ones who betrayed and tried to destroy it.

    Those Confederate statues were put in place in the 1920’s when the KKK had full fledged government support in those states.

    “But the media no longer cares about the statue”

    But several hundred armed neo-nazis cared enough to try (and fail to) to spark a gun battle/bloodbath and murder a person last weekend over it. A murder you are trying desperately to ignore for the last few days.

  • the other demonstrators, had already arrived carrying weapons. and anyone, stupid enough to stay there is just as guilty.

    sorry to disappoint you but i refuse to choose, either nazi side. when you, have two or more hate groups clashing against each other.

    since no matter which side, you choose you are wrong to choose. nor do i approve of your anarchist fascist racist mentality.

  • Washington and Jefferson did a lot of good despite owning slaves, Robert E. Lee, Jefferson Davis and other Confederates were traitors who did nothing good…and led a pro-slavery rebellion. Lee was offered the job of leading the Union Army…instead he took the job as the head of an army trying to destroy the United States and helped kill hundreds of thousands of Americans so he could keep his slaves.

    The Confederate Army Northern Virginia, was given orders by Robert E. Lee to return escaped slaves to their owners who would torture them upon return. Lee also ordered his troops to hang legal free blacks if they resisted…the beginning of lynching.

    So Lee and all Confederate traitors and cowards do not deserve statues of honor. Too bad Trump, like many white evangelical Christians actually embrace Lee and the evils of the Confederacy.

  • If you don’t know the answer to that, then all pretenses to understand anything at all are gone.

    But of course you know the answer to that.

  • They don’t want to rule over them, they want them gone.

    Now, who else had the same philosophy?

  • Protesters bringing weapons by design and intention by the organizers don’t get the benefit of a doubt.

    You also refuse to address the only murder and serious injuries at the rally.

    Why do you love Nazis so much?

  • the counter protesters, brought weapons. and i have seen no reporting, as to whether the protesters or counter-protesters were given a heads up about this on either side.

    and as far as i know, nobody has been convicted of murder yet. ever hear the term, “innocent until proven guilty”. and yes i am, aware of deaths and injuries being involved in this tragedy. but i am not, about to jump the gun before all the facts are known. emotional prejudice conjecture, makes a lousy judge and/or witness.

    and i, hate nazi’s like you just as much as any other prejudiced socialist. the protesters and counter-protesters, all used the race card. and i refuse to give favor to anyone based on race preferences. there, were to sides to their nazi coins.

    and both sides, were there based on their own stupidity with your stupidity aiding and abetting one stupid side over the other stupid side. and i refuse to be as blinded by prejudice as you in this matter.

  • Is there ever a group of good guys marching sporting torches and guns?

    Once you bring guns to a rally you stop becoming the next iteration of the Selma March and become an amateur production of The Ox Bow Incident

  • First, I give you sincere thanks for having the courage to do a considered response. (You see how Damien handled it, Ben? THAT’s how you do it.)

    Second, let me offer a few thoughts. You say that George W and Thomas J, “did a lot of good despite owning slaves.”

    But if you had been a black slave on their plantations, deprived of your freedom and rights, considered racially inferior every day, and your beloved family could get split up with one sentence, would you still feel the same way? NOPE.

    You are correct about Lee and Davis being traitors. But they WERE fighting for George and Thomas’s right to own, keep, sell, buy, and punish black slaves.
    So let’s just be honest: Trump had a VERY good point there.

    Btw, a black bishop in Chicago is making the liberals squirm pretty good, by calling for Washington’s and Andrew Jackson’s names to be removed from a couple parks, to be replaced with black names:

  • Some day you may actually read some history books. Who knows?

    The German Jews murdered by the Germans were German citizens. They also built Germany.

    Someday you may actually know some Germans. My husband’s family welcomes immigrants.