President Donald Trump has issued a call for unity in the wake of ongoing violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, where far-right white nationalists and far-left Antifa counter-protesters clashed in a melee so heated that a state of emergency has been declared in the area.
“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 press conference, lamenting the chaos in Charlottesville as “terrible” and “very, very sad.”
“This has been going on for a long, long time,” he said, recalling other similar clashes that have taken place around the country since last year. “It has no place in America. Trump praised the efforts of law enforcement officers who have put themselves in the line of fire to restore order in the city.
“Above all, we must remember this truth, no matter our color, creed, religion, or political party, we are all Americans first,” he stressed. “We must love each other, respect each other and cherish our history and our future together.”
The president echoed the sentiment on Twitter on Saturday morning: “We ALL must be united & condemn all that hate stands for,” he wrote. “There is no place for this kind of violence in America. Lets come together as one!”
We ALL must be united & condemn all that hate stands for. There is no place for this kind of violence in America. Lets come together as one!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 12, 2017
Despite his peaceful message, Trump has been blasted by Democrats and the mainstream media alike for not directly condemning the white nationalists responsible for the protests, which were sparked in part by the slated removal of a Robert E. Lee monument in the city.
“You need to be specific regarding this,” one Twitter user wrote. “Condemn the White Supremacists behind this, and get rid of the ones in your WH.”