President Trump condemned the KKK, neo-Nazis and white supremacists on Monday after being widely criticized for not specifically calling out the groups during his initial statement on the violence that occurred over the weekend.
“Racism is evil — and those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs, including the [Ku Klux Klan], neo-Nazis, white supremacists and other hate groups that are repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans,” Trump said.
Trump delivered the unplanned statement Monday, condemning the weekend violence in Charlottesville, Virginia and warned “anyone who acted criminally in this weekend’s racist violence, you will be held fully accountable.” Added POTUS: “Justice will be delivered.”
“No matter the color of our skin, we all live under the same laws. We all salute the same great flag and we are all made by the same almighty god,” Trump said.
Trump called the events a “horrific attack” and said that the Justice Department has opened a civil rights investigation on the deadly car attack. Many critics on both sides of the political aisle were angry over the weekend that Trump didn’t specifically call out white supremacists; instead saying “many sides” caused the violence. He was more direct on Monday.
“We are a nation founded on the truth that all of us are created equal. We are equal in the eyes of our creator. We are equal under the law,” Trump said. “We are equal under our constitution.”
Trump continued: “Those who spread violence in the name of bigotry strike at the very core of America.”
Attorney General Jeff Sessions told “CBS This Morning” earlier on Monday that people are making “too much out of” Trump not explicitly condemning white supremacists in his initial statement about violence in Charlottesville, which left three people dead and dozens injured.
“Look, he gave a statement at a press conference that was already scheduled for veteran’s issues. It was a long statement about violence, bigotry and hatred. He condemned it. He called for unity in our country. He called on us to get along with each other,” Sessions said. “He was strong about that. It was just shortly after the events happened.”
Groups of white nationalists descended on Charlottesville over the weekend to protest the planned removal of a statue of Confederate general Robert E. Lee, and were met by counter-protesters, leading to violence that began Friday night. Unrest intensified on Saturday, as a vehicle plowed into a group of counter-protesters at a white nationalist rally, killing Heather Heyer, a 32-year-old paralegal from Virginia, and injuring 19 others. More than 30 were hurt in total as a result of events at the rally.
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