(SBN) – Amid a state of emergency in Charlottesville, VA today, spurred by deadly violence during a white nationalist rally, President Trump was blasted for failing to call out white supremacists and neo-Nazis; instead suggesting that violence was caused by “many sides.”
“We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides, on many sides,” Trump said during a short statement from his private golf club in New Jersey. “It has been going on for a long time in our country — not Donald Trump, not Barack Obama. It has been going on for a long, long time. It has no place in America.”
The criticism was far and wide – from lawmakers on both sides of the isle, to the civil rights community to noted former KKK grand wizard David Duke.
U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders was among those blasting Trump’s comments:
No, Mr. President. This is a provocative effort by Neo-Nazis to foment racism and hatred and create violence. Call it out for what it is. https://t.co/WibPqkLsLa
— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) August 12, 2017
The days events saw clashes between white supremacist groups and counter-protesters. At one point a motorist, identified as 20-year old James Alex Fields Jr. of Ohio plowed his vehicle into a group of counter-protesters, killing one and injuring at least 19 others.
— David Beard (@dabeard) August 12, 2017
Fields, (below) faces multiple charges to include second-degree murder, malicious woundings and failure to stop at the scene of an accident that resulted in a death.
CBS News reports, video of the incident showed a grey Dodge Charger plowing into counter-protesters who were marching through the city’s shopping district. The force of the collision hurled several people into the air. Bystanders could be seen running in every direction while others stood by screaming for help.
Meantime, David Duke, who was an early supporter of Trump’s campaign praised the rally in a statement captured on video, saying the rally represented “a turning point for the people of this country. We are determined to take this country back. We’re gonna fulfill the promises of Donald Trump. That’s what we believed in. That’s why we voted for Donald Trump because he said he’s going to take our country back.”
Duke would later take issue with Trump’s comment, “We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides, on many sides.”
Duke tweeted: “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,” Duke responded to Trump.”
Meantime, former U.S. President Barack Obama was among those who reacted to the violence. Mr. Obama took to Twitter with a quote from the late Nelson Mandela:
“No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”
"No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin or his background or his religion…" pic.twitter.com/InZ58zkoAm
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) August 13, 2017
A number of GOP senators called Trump out for failing to call out the the forces of evil on display by white nationalists, to include Sens. Chuck Grassley (IA), Orrin Hatch (UT), John McCain (AZ), Rob Portman (OH), Cory Gardner (CO) and Marco Rubio (FL).
— The Hill (@thehill) August 13, 2017
What " WhiteNatjonalist" are doing in Charlottesville is homegrown terrorism that can't be tolerated anymore that what Any extremist does
— ChuckGrassley (@ChuckGrassley) August 12, 2017
GOP Senator Rob Portman tweeted, “The tragedy in Charlottesville this afternoon was domestic terrorism. We must all condemn hatred and white nationalism.” Senator Marco Rubio also took to Twitter, “Very important for the nation to hear @potus describe events in #Charlottesville for what they are, a terror attack by @whitesupremacists.”
Other Democrats m or white supremacists.
Of course we condemn ALL that hate stands for. Until @POTUS specifically condemns alt-right action in Charlottesville, he hasnt done his job
— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) August 12, 2017
There is only one side. #charlottesville
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) August 12, 2017
The National Action Network, led by Rev. Al Sharpton issued a statement:
“The current state of emergency in Charlottesville and loss of lives is a scathing reminder to us all that the fight for justice is not over – we still have so much more to do. But we cannot forget that this is also a symptom of the rhetoric the Trump Administration has supported since the Presidential Election and into the White House, promoting violence, attacking civil rights, and allowing organizations backed by bigots to thrive.
The National Action Network calls on President Trump to address the causes of these events, denounce the white supremacists at the very heart of this conflict, and start working towards peace.“