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People Are Furious Over President Trump's Refusal To Call Out White Supremacy

"Why won't he say radical white supremacists?"

Originally posted on
Updated on

The car crash came after violent scuffles between the opposing groups of demonstrators, which prompted Virginia officials to declare a state of emergency.

In a press conference from his golf club in New Jersey on Saturday afternoon, President Trump failed to condemn white supremacists by name, instead criticizing what he said was "hatred, bigotry, and violence on many sides."

Trump on #Charlottesville: "We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry an… https://t.co/TzSiDafgbl

“We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry, and violence on many sides — on many sides,” Trump said.

"It's been going on for a long time in our country. Not Donald Trump. Not Barack Obama. It's been going on for a long, long time. It has no place in America," he said.

Hours later Trump offered condolences to the victims of the crash, tweeting that it was "so sad." He also offered condolences to the families and colleagues of two state police officers who died when their helicopter crashed.

"No matter our color, creed, religion, or political party, we are all Americans first," he said. "We love our country. We love our God. We love our flag. We are proud of our country. We're proud of who we are.

"So we want to get the situation straightened out in Charlottesville and we want to study it and we want to see what we're doing wrong as a country, where things like this can happen," he said.

Vice President Mike Pence tweeted his condolences for the victims, but also did not condemn white supremacists by name.

Karen & I saddened by the loss of lives in Charlottesville. Thoughts & prayers w/ families of officers & young woma… https://t.co/KmvPlQNhYT

Prior to the press conference, Trump tweeted a vague statement, denouncing "hate" and "violence" without specifically condemning white nationalists...

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!

"The problem with vague condemnations of hatred is they allow hate groups to interpret the condemnations as they see fit," said CNN's Jake Tapper, referring to Spencer's tweet.

The problem with vague condemnations of hatred is they allow hate groups to interpret the condemnations as they see… https://t.co/8god2wHBIW

Many people denounced the president's comments for his failure to specifically condemn white supremacy.

Which side are you condemning, exactly? https://t.co/rgbxtJdo8G

Try again, 45. You didn't identify #Nazis, #KKK and other hate groups specifically. You know, the people who voted… https://t.co/9dgeOE58tS

Say their names. Say Nazis. Say white supremacists. Say racists. https://t.co/FnTT9sVQly

Former vice president Joe Biden tweeted out this short message:

There is only one side. #charlottesville

Republican Sen. John McCain condemned the “white supremacist” attack.

Statement on today's "white supremacist attack" from @SenJohnMcCain

In a statement, McCain said that the founders of the United States “fought a revolution for the idea that all men are created equal”.

“Nothing less is at stake on the streets of Charlottesville, Virginia, where a violent attack has taken at least one American life and injured many other in a confrontation between our better angels and our worst demons,” he continued.

McCain urged “American patriots of all colors and creeds” to come together to “defy those who raise the flag of hatred and bigotry”.

As did Florida's Republican Sen. Marco Rubio.

Very important for the nation to hear @potus describe events in #Charlottesville for what they are, a terror attack by #whitesupremacists

Republican Gov. Chris Christie also spoke out.

We reject the racism and violence of white nationalists like the ones acting out in Charlottesville. Everyone in leadership must speak out.

Sen. Cory Gardner, the chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, was among those calling on the president to "call evil by its name."

Mr. President - we must call evil by its name. These were white supremacists and this was domestic terrorism. https://t.co/PaPNiPPAoW

Republican Speaker of the House Paul Ryan said, "White supremacy is a scourge. This hate and its terrorism must be confronted and defeated."

Our hearts are with today's victims. White supremacy is a scourge. This hate and its terrorism must be confronted and defeated.

Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch tweeted, "My brother didn't give his life fighting Hitler for Nazi ideas to go unchallenged here at home."

We should call evil by its name. My brother didn't give his life fighting Hitler for Nazi ideas to go unchallenged here at home. -OGH

Republican Congressman Ryan Anthony Costello gave a statement in which he condemned white nationalists.

Statement by @RepRyanCostello (R-PA) on #Charlottesville

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, a Republican who ran against Trump in last year's presidential primary, called on the US Department of Justice to investigate the deadly car crash in Charlottesville.

I urge the Department of Justice to immediately investigate and prosecute this grotesque act of domestic terrorism.

Shortly after Cruz tweeted this demand, the FBI announced that it would open a civil rights investigation into Saturday's car collision.

And Republican Sen. Rob Portman tweeted that what happened in Charlottesville was "domestic terrorism," adding, "We must all condemn hatred and white nationalism."

The tragedy in Charlottesville this afternoon was domestic terrorism. We must all condemn hatred and white nationalism.

The attorney general of Virginia explicitly called out Trump, saying that the violence in Charlottesville was "not the fault of 'many sides.' It is racists and white supremacists."

The violence, chaos, and apparent loss of life in Charlottesville is not the fault of "many sides." It is racists and white supremacists.

Nancy Pelosi, the House Democratic minority leader, also tweeted:

Repeat after me, @realDonaldTrump: white supremacy is an affront to American values. #Charlottesville

Virginia Republican Congressman Dave Brat, who earlier released a statement condemning the violence, tweeted again later on Saturday night.

To be clear, I reject nazi white supremacists, the KKK, and fascism which requires a total fed state. They all operate in hate vs love.

Trump's "on many sides" comment, and his delay in mentioning the victim of the car crash, enraged many people on social media.

"On many sides." Never forget that phrase. Three words that protected violent bigotry. "On many sides."

Somebody died today in broad daylight in the US thanks to white supremacists and the President can't get up any balls & blames "many sides"

"Someone died because of ONE, easily identifiable, self-titled 'side,'" actress Natalie Morales tweeted.

On many sides. No. No. Someone died because of ONE, easily identifiable, self-titled "side". They are white supremacists AND terrorists.

Some people described Trump's "on many sides" remark as a dog whistle to his white supremacist supporters.

When conservatives like Trump condemns hatred, bigotry, and violence "on many sides", this is a wink & a nod of approval to their followers.

"Many sides" aren't driving cars into people. "Many sides" aren't carrying torches to harass young people. WTF is this new dog whistle?

And many pointed out the irony that Trump, who frequently criticized his opponents for not saying "radical Islamic terrorism" during the campaign, would not definitively condemn white supremacy.

He can't say "white supremacy" or "racism" or "Nazism".... But "radical Islamic terrorism" would have been easy. https://t.co/zyLFmEpgZT

You forgot to say that you condemn Nazism. https://t.co/Hc3ym2gav7

Why won't he say radical white supremacists? https://t.co/HKZfdHBvUS

"Anyone who cannot name our enemy is not fit to lead this country," Trump told a Florida rally in September, referring to so-called radical Islamic terrorists.

"Nazis are marching in your name, emboldened by your policies and rhetoric," tweeted University of Pennsylvania professor and researcher Matt Blaze. "We need more than generic, bland platitudes, Mr. President."

Nazis are marching in your name, emboldened by your policies and rhetoric. We need more than generic, bland platitu… https://t.co/JDdnuScG6M

Julia Reinstein is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.

Contact Julia Reinstein at julia.reinstein@buzzfeed.com.

Rose Troup Buchanan is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

Contact Rose Troup Buchanan at Rose.Buchanan@BuzzFeed.com.

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