President Donald Trump pretty much condoned the actions of white supremacists during a rally in Virginia on Saturday by arguing that both right- and left-wing extremists were to blame for the violence that ensued as a result of the protest.
Reuters reports that Trump’s remarks, which came one day after he condemned neo-Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan under pressure, left White House officials with fallout from both Democrats and Republicans alike.
“What about the alt-left that came charging at the … alt-right? Do they have any semblance of guilt?” Trump said during his statement. “I’ve condemned neo-Nazis. I’ve condemned many different groups,” he said. “Not all of those people were neo-Nazis, believe me. Not all of those people were white supremacists by any stretch.”
Talk about sympathizing with racists.
“Many of those people were there to protest the taking down of the statue of Robert E. Lee,” Mr. Trump said. “So this week, it is Robert E. Lee. I noticed that Stonewall Jackson is coming down. I wonder, is it George Washington next week? And is it Thomas Jefferson the week after? You know, you really do have to ask yourself, where does it stop?”
One woman died as a result of the rally, after a man drove a car through a crowd of anti-racism protesters. Several were injured as a result of James Alex Fields Jr.’s actions. He is facing second-degree murder, hit and run and three counts of malicious wounding in the death of Heather Heyer.
On Tuesday, Patrisse Cullors, co-founder of the Black Lives Matter movement, released the following statement in response to Trump’s remarks:
“Emotions are running high since the violence this country witnessed in Charlottesville, Virginia. While there some people who claim that those images, that violence, that hatred and Trump’s ideas and speeches are in contradiction to the founding of the United States of America and this country’s values, I know it to be untrue.
This country is rich with an ugly past characterized by genocide, slavery and rooted in white supremacist values to its core. Until we come to terms with this history, until we reckon with these historical realities, we will continue to repeat this shock. Shock is a critical emotion yet, shock rarely moves us to action, to intention, to envision. Shock often can build within us fear, immobilize us and we numb, we internalize these very dangerous, distressing and damaging conditions.
As 45 condones white supremacy at news conferences and in press releases and as his administration seemingly contradicts him to say that they disagree with white supremacist actions and behaviors, we know otherwise. We know that this entire administration, this entire country and its elite political leadership are those very same torch carriers with or without white caps. As 45 condones white supremacy he facilitates a state for white supremacies to continue to terrorize communities of color and especially, Black communities.
This country must come to terms with its past. This country must deal with the white supremacy and racism that permeates every institution, the economy, the dominant national culture.
Black people have a right to live full lives, healthy lives and rich in beauty. Until we take on white supremacy at its core, we are further away from these lives and further away from a society which can honestly stand for freedom and equality for all.”