Just moments after it was confirmed one person had died in the violent clashes in Charlottesville, Virginia, President Trump on Saturday issued a statement saying that he condemns “egregious” and “racially charged” incident.
Trump did not call out specific groups while referring to the violent clashes between far-right groups and counter-protesters, prompting Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe to declare a state of emergency. Police in riot gear ordered demonstrators to leave town.
“We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides, on many sides,” Trump said at a press conference that was meant to highlight accomplishments by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs during his administrations.
“It’s been going on for a long time in our country. Not [because of] Donald Trump. This has been going on for a long, long time,” he continued.
Trump then boasted his own achievements during the time he has been in office:
“Our country is doing very well in so many ways. We have record, just absolute record employment,” he said. “We have unemployment the lowest it’s been in almost seventeen years. We have companies pouring into our country. Foxconn and car companies and so many others, they’re coming back to our country. We’re renegotiating trade deals to make them great for our country and great for the American worker,” he added.
White nationalist, white supremacist, and alt-right groups were initially scheduled to gather in Charlottesville’s Emancipation Park Saturday to protest the city’s decision to remove a Confederate statue there.
But as clashes broke out ahead of the so-called “Unite the Right” rally Saturday morning, police declared the gathering an unlawful assembly, breaking up the event before it officially began.
At least one person has died in the clashes.
The president first condemned the event on Twitter hours after the violence ensued.
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!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 12, 2017
Twitter users were quick to respond:
“Let’s come together as one?” How in the hell are you going to ask that when you’re the one cheerleading the division?
— Kelly Scaletta (@KellyScaletta) August 12, 2017
Cool, tell them to put down their torches. Usually when non hateful people march they carry cardboard signs.
— Iliza Shlesinger (@iliza) August 12, 2017
You need to be specific regarding this. Condemn the White Supremacists behind this, and get rid of the ones in your WH.
— OldCrow (@BirdieWings80) August 12, 2017
— Storm2017 🖖☮️ (@stormresist2017) August 12, 2017
why are you afraid to condemn radical white nationalist terrorism?
— The Mountain Goats (@mountain_goats) August 12, 2017
And when his Jewish grandchildren are old enough to realize his complicity…
— FakePockets (@Sillyville1) August 12, 2017
Ok Donny why not lead by example and actually condemn the Nazis that wear your hats and feel invigorated by your words? You = 🎃🤡💩
— Taylor Williamson (@TaylorComedy) August 12, 2017
— Victoria Brownworth (@VABVOX) August 12, 2017
Say the words: white racist radical terrorist.
— ALT🛂 Immigration (@ALT_uscis) August 12, 2017
They’re just trying to Make America White Again, it’s what you ran your campaign on! pic.twitter.com/ytNd5n3fXw
— Perez (@ThePerezHilton) August 12, 2017
That should tell you something. These are your supporters. No wonder you won’t directly condemn them. They call you God Emperor.Sick.
— Cecelia TU (@CeceliaTU1) August 12, 2017