UPDATE, AUG. 14, 11:03 A.M.: Perhaps President Trump heard the words of fellow party members like Fred Whitaker.
President Trump denounced groups such as the Ku Klux Klan and neo-Nazis by name and announced that the Justice Department has launched a civil rights investigation into the death of a counterprotester at a white nationalist gathering in Charlottesville, Va., over the weekend as he sought to tamp down mounting criticism of his initial response to the violence.
“Anyone who acted criminally in this weekend’s racist violence, you will be held accountable,” Trump said in brief remarks at the White House. The statement came two days after he failed to specifically condemn the rally after Heather Heyer was killed and as many as 19 were injured by a driver who reportedly espoused racist and pro-Nazi sentiments and had come to the city for the the “Unite the Right” march.
ORIGINAL POST, AUG. 14, 9:17 A.M.: The chairman of the Orange County Republican Party has done something President Donald Trump has not: condemn the white supremacists of Charlottesville, Virginia, by name.
Here is Fred Whitaker’s statement issued 22 hours ago:
On behalf of the Republican Party of Orange County, I unequivocally condemn the racist violence committed in Charlottesville by a despicable, fringe group of white supremacists. This kind of hatred has no place in America and we reject it in the clearest possible terms. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims of this atrocity and we hope that peace will prevail in the days ahead. Let me be clear, those that support race supremacy look for government control of all aspects of life. It is not conservative, it is not Republican, it is totalitarian. As Americans from every religion, ethnicity, and background, we need to stand united together for freedom. Only freedom produces peace and prosperity.
There has been criticism of Trump ignoring reporters who asked him directly whether he condemned white nationalist groups or whether he considered the murder of a woman in Charlottesville a terrorist attack, saying at an event at his private golf club Saturday that the violence was caused by “many sides.”
One of those doing the criticizing is one of the six people who as of this morning had left a comment with Whitaker’s Facebook post, which had received 125 likes.
“Now if only the leader of your party would say something similar,” wrote the commenter identified as Scott Huber.
Others praised Whitaker for his stand; only one comment seemed to mirror Trump’s original statement—which his aides backed him away from all weekend. Identified as Brian Cossairt, the commenter wrote: “Violence, committed by both sides…”
Many believe Trump has been loathe to call out white supremacists because many of them belong to the alt-right movement that includes many of the president’s supporters and Cabinet members.