President Trump Widely Criticized for Failing to Condemn White Supremacists in Charlottesville Statement
Following the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville that ended in violent clashes between the white supremacists and counter-protesters, President Trump released a statement. Although in that statement the President condemned “hatred, bigotry and violence,” many were critical of his failure to specifically condemn white supremacy.
"We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence, on many sides. On many sides. It's been going on for a long time in our country. Not Donald Trump, not Barack Obama. This has been going on for a long, long time,” Trump tweeted following news of the Charlottesville rally and ensuing violence in which one person died when a white nationalist drove a vehicle into the crowd.
Many commentators pointed out that the President did not strictly call out white supremacy, but instead seemed to equate the “hatred, bigotry and violence” of the white supremacists with that of the counter-protesters. And while many commentators and reporters acknowledged that there was violence on both sides, they argued that white supremacy and its dangerous implications should not be so easily dismissed.
The white nationalists even praised the President’s statement for not calling them out--a fact that led many to question the President’s motives even further:
“Trump comments were good. He didn’t attack us. He just said the nation should come together. Nothing specific against us. He said that we need to study why people are so angry, and implied that there was hate … on both sides! So he implied the antifa are haters. There was virtually no counter-signaling of us at all. He said he loves us all,” said a statement in The Daily Stormer, a neo-Nazi white supremacist news site.
White supremacist David Duke also tweeted to the President what sounded like a threat: “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,” tweeted Duke.
In a time of national crisis such as the events in Charlottesville, many have called on the President to take a stronger stance against racism and to leave no doubt in Americans’ minds that white supremacy will not be tolerated.
Although there has been much criticism of the President’s statement, there has been widespread praise for the statement of Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, who said to the white supremacists:
"You pretend that you are patriots, but you are anything but patriots. We are stronger than you. You have made our commonwealth stronger. You will not succeed. There is no place for you here."
Photo: A vigil is held in downtown Philadelphia on August 13, 2017 in support of the victims of violence at the 'Unite the Right' rally In Charlottesville, Virginia this weekend. Vigils are being held across the country following clashes between white supremacists and counter-protestors in Charlottesville, Virginia on Saturday, August 12th. Heather Heyer, 32, was killed in Charlottesville when a car allegedly driven by James Alex Fields Jr. barreled into a crowd of counter-protesters following violence at the 'Unite the Right' rally.
Photo courtesy: Jessica Kourkounis/Getty Images
Publication date: August 14, 2017