Charlottesville Mayor Michael Signer is laying some blame on Donald Trump Trump after the violence at a white supremacist rally that left one dead, saying the president courted these extremist groups and then failed to denounce them as their rhetoric became more violent.
On Saturday, a man identified as James Fields Jr. allegedly drove his car through a crowd of people gathered to protest the white supremacists who descended on the Virginia city. The car injured at least 20 other people.
Shortly after the attack, Donald Trump issued a statement condemning the violence but failing to single out the white nationalist groups that organized the rally. Instead, Trump said there was violence “on many sides.”
“We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides, on many sides,” Trump said, as reported by CNN. “It has been going on for a long time in our country — not Donald Trump, not Barack Obama. It has been going on for a long, long time. It has no place in America.”
Trump’s failure to condemn the white nationalists responsible for the violence drew immediate controversy and rebukes from Democrats and Republicans alike.
On Sunday, Charlottesville Mayor Michael Signer ripped Trump’s response and appeared to lay some blame at the president.
“Look at the campaign he ran. 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,” Signer told CNN’s Jake Tapper on State of the Union (via The Hill).
Singer specified that the attack was “not about Donald Trump” but instead “this is about the United States of America, it’s about Virginia, it’s about Charlottesville.”
Others were more direct in placing blame on Donald Trump for the atmosphere that led to Saturday’s attack. The Hill noted that Trump frequently criticized former President Obama for not saying the words “radical Islamic terrorism,” but Trump himself is now under fire for refusing to use the words “white supremacists” in his response to the attack. Others took note of Trump’s attempts to court racist groups during his 2016 campaign, including Trump’s tweet of a graphic of African-American crime statistics that was filled with false information and originated from a white supremacist on Twitter.
Former Vice President Joe Biden took aim at Trump in a statement on Twitter, saying there was only one side responsible for Saturday’s violence.
On Sunday, the White House press office issued a statement noting that Donald Trump’s statement meant to condemn all forms of violence, including that of white supremacists and KKK. The statement was not attributed to anyone in particular, and Trump himself has not yet singled out white supremacists.
[Featured Image by Alex Wong/Getty Images]