“We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry, and violence. It has no place in America,” Trump said.
He said no matter the color of your skin “we all live under the same laws. We all salute the same great flag and we are all made by the same almighty God.”
He went on to name the hate groups for the first time.
“Racism is evil and those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs, including the KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists and other hate groups that are repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans,” the president said.
”We are a nation founded on the truth that all of us are created equal. We are equal in the eyes of our creator. We are equal under the law, and we are equal under our Constitution. Those who spread violence in the name of bigotry strike at the very core of America,” he added.
He said the U.S. Department of Justice has opened a civil rights investigation into the deadly car attack that killed an “innocent American and wounded 20 others.”
Trump added: “To anyone who acted criminally in this weekend’s racist violence, you will be held fully accountable. Justice will be delivered.”
Trump’s remarks were moved up several hours. He left the room after making the statement as reporters shouted questions.
Prior to making the remarks, Merck’s CEO Kenneth Frazier left the president’s manufacturing council after Trump failed to denounce white nationalism over the weekend.
Frazier tweeted a statement that he was stepping down “as a matter of personal conscience” and “to take a stand against intolerance and extremism.”
Trump fired back a tweet saying: “Now that Ken Frazier of Merck Pharma has resigned from President’s Manufacturing Council, he will have more time to LOWER RIPOFF DRUG PRICES!”
U.S. Reps. Joe Courtney and John B. Larson, following an event Monday morning, said Trump needs to denounce the white nationalists who prompted this weekend’s deadly and violent protests in Charlottesville, Virginia.
“He has got to get out there and really repudiate the organizer and the message of that event,” Courtney said.
He said he would be “stunned” if the president didn’t “get with it and articulate what I think the whole country is sort of looking for.”
He said the “tepid” comment by Trump on Saturday will be interpreted by these white supremacists “as a tacit approval.”
Andrew Anglin, founder of Neo-Nazi website The Daily Stormer, described Trump’s comments this weekend as “good.”
“He didn’t attack us. He just said the nation should come together,” Anglin wrote. “Nothing specific against us. No condemnation at all.”
Daily Stormer, which takes its name from the gutter Nazi propaganda sheet known as “Der Stürmer,” promotes anti-Semitism, neo-Nazism, and white nationalism and is the “top hate site in America,” according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. It featured headlines like “Heather Heyer: Woman Killed In Road Rage Incident was Fat, Childless 32-Year-Old Slut,” and “Road Rage Does Not Represent White Supremacy – #HugaNazi #RoadRageHasNoPolitics.”
But this weekend’s rally of white supremacists and the counter-protests that followed also featured more familiar names.
“Anytime David Duke latches onto you and says you’re the reason he is there deserves the strongest denunciation,” Larson said of the former Ku Klux Klan Grand Dragon who attended the “Unite the Right” rally that prompted the protests.
“There is no place in any party for these klansmen, Neo-Nazis, this is just flat out wrong,” Larson said. “They are associating themselves with him. He has got to … tell them there is no place for you here.”
Other members of Connecticut’s Washington delegation were also vocal. See their responses in today’s DC News Junkie.