This is a breaking news story. We will update with additional details as they become available.
After a white nationalist rally sparked violent protests in Charlottesville, VA on Saturday, Donald Trump and several high-ranking government officials have spoken out.
“We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry, and violence on many sides, ” Trump said in a statement, according to the L.A. Times.
“What is vital now is a swift restoration of law and order and the protection of innocent lives,” he continued.
The phrase “many sides” however, incensed many, including New York Senator, Chuck Schumer. “Of course we condemn ALL that hate stands for. Until @POTUS specifically condemns alt-right action in Charlottesville, he hasnt done his job,” Schumer tweeted, echoing the sentiments of many Americans.
— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) August 12, 2017
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, also expressed a lack of satisfaction regarding Trump’s response. “Repeat after me, @realDonaldTrump: white supremacy is an affront to American values.
# Charlottesville, she wrote.
— Nancy Pelosi (@NancyPelosi) August 12, 2017
GOP members also chimed in, managing to condemn the day’s actions without directly calling out white nationalist protesters.
“The views fueling the spectacle in Charlottesville are repugnant. Let it only serve to unite Americans against this kind of vile bigotry,” said House Speaker Paul Ryan.
The views fueling the spectacle in Charlottesville are repugnant. Let it only serve to unite Americans against this kind of vile bigotry.
— Paul Ryan (@SpeakerRyan) August 12, 2017
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell tweeted: “The hate and bigotry witnessed in #Charlottesville does not reflect American values. I wholeheartedly oppose their actions.”
The hate and bigotry witnessed in #Charlottesville does not reflect American values. I wholeheartedly oppose their actions.
— Leader McConnell (@SenateMajLdr) August 12, 2017
While First Lady Melania Trump’s statement echoed that of her husband. “Our country encourages freedom of speech, but let’s communicate w/o hate in our hearts. No good comes from violence. #Charlottesville,” she wrote.
Our country encourages freedom of speech, but let’s communicate w/o hate in our hearts. No good comes from violence. #Charlottesville
— Melania Trump (@FLOTUS) August 12, 2017
— Vice President Pence (@VP) August 12, 2017
In an interview, former Ku Klux Klan leader and Trump supporter David Duke, made comments aligning himself and the Unite the Right movement with Trump.
“This represents a turning point for the people of this country,” said Duke in a video tweeted out by photojournalist Mykal McEldowney. “We are determined to take our country back. We are going to fulfill the promises of Donald Trump. That’s what we believed in, that’s why we voted for Donald Trump. Because he said he’s going to take our country back. That’s what we gotta do.”
— Mykal McEldowney (@mykalmphoto) August 12, 2017
Senator Tim Kaine tweeted out a lengthier statement, in one portion, he condemned Duke’s comments. “The fact that people like David Duke cited the President to justify their views is a disturbing reminder that divisive rhetoric has sadly contributed to a climate where individuals who espouse hate feel emboldened,” he said.
— Senator Tim Kaine (@timkaine) August 12, 2017
Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe made his opinon known in a public statement disavowing white nationalists. “You are not wanted in this great commonwealth. Shame on you,” McAuliffe said. “You pretend that you are patriots, but you are anything but a patriot…You came here today to hurt people. And you did hurt people. My message is clear, we are stronger than you. You have made our commonwealth stronger. You will not succeed. There is no place for you here. There is no place for you in America.”
Late Friday night, hundreds of white nationalists gathered to mark the beginning of pre-planned weekend-long rallies. Early Saturday, amid mounting tensions with counterprotesters, violence broke out. So far there has been one death.
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