President Donald Trump has once again denounced hatred and violence in the wake of Saturday’s Charlottesville clashes between white supremacists and leftist groups, doubling down on his anti-hate message after his previous attempts were deemed insufficient by his opponents.
In a statement made from the Diplomatic Reception Room at the White House following a meeting with Attorney General Jeff Sessions and FBI Director Christopher Wray, Trump was unequivocal about his condemnation of racial bigotry.
“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,” he said. “Those who spread violence in the name of bigotry strike at the very core of America.”
Trump went on to remember Heather Heyer, the 32-year-old counter-protester who lost her life during the protests when an alleged Nazi sympathizer plowed into a crowd of demonstrators.
“Her death fills us with grief and we send her family our thoughts, our prayers, and our love,” h said.
The president announced that the FBI and the Department of Justice have joined forces to investigate the circumstances surrounding the car attack and to bring justice to any protesters who committed a crime during the contentious clash.
“We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry, and violence. It has no place in America,” Trump insisted.
Over the weekend, Trump ignited a firestorm of controversy for allegedly failing to condemn white supremacy in direct terms, with critics claiming that the president was attempting to create a moral equivalency between the likes of the neo-Nazis and the leftist counter-protesters like Antifa who have committed violent acts in the past.
And some even waved away his Monday remarks as too little too late, with former Secretary of State John Kerry tweeting: “No matter what [Trump] says now-first instincts always revealing; his was to look into the camera and say ‘many sides’ – that can’t be erased.”