Another elected official is taking Trump to task for his incredibly weak condemnation of the violence committed by participants and organizers of Saturday’s ‘Unite the Right’ rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Charlottesville Mayor Michael Signer (D) told CNN that President Donald Trump was responsible in part for creating the atmosphere that has emboldened the far right in the United States.
“Look at the campaign he [Trump] ran,” Signer told CNN on Sunday. “Look at the intentional courting, both on the one hand all of these white supremacist, white nationalist groups like that, anti-Semitic groups, and then look on the other hand the repeated failure to step up and condemn, denounce, silence, put to bed, all of those different efforts just like we saw yesterday, and this is not hard.”
In a separate interview on NBC, Signer told the president to take a stronger stance. “People are dying, and I do think that it’s now on the president and on all of us to say enough is enough. This movement has run its course.”
Hours after the car attack that killed 32-year-old Heather Heyer and injured at least 19 others, Trump spoke to television cameras and condemned the “egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence” which he said was “on many sides.”
While no counter-protesters are currently being held for suspicion of murdering white nationalists, James Alex Fields, Jr., 20, of Ohio is being held without bail on suspicion of committing second-degree murder, malicious wounding, failure to stop for an accident involving a death and hit and run.
The Southern Poverty Law Center, one of the nation’s largest organizations that monitors hate groups, has posted photos showing Fields rallying with a right-wing organization whose members have been accused of murder and charged with crimes related to explosives, and are known to stockpile weapons.
During the 2016 campaign, Trump often refused to unequivocally condemn endorsements of white supremacist groups. In one memorable exchange with CNN’s Jake Tapper, Trump refused to repudiate endorsements by former Klu Klux Klan Imperial Wizard David Duke and other white supremacists, saying he would first “have to look at the group” and “will do research on them.”