President Donald Trump on Saturday condemned violence that took place in Charlottesville, Virginia, where thousands of neo-Nazis, Ku Klux Klan members, and other pieces of human trash gathered brandishing guns, torches, and Confederate flags.
But to the elation of Nazis online and armed militiamen in the streets of Charlottesville, Trump declined to distance the White House from the white hate groups who’d initially gathered in Charlottesville to protest the removal of a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee. Instead, the president condemned “hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides.”
During brief remarks from his golf club in Bedminster, N.J., the president made no mention of the white supremacists, some of whom wore t-shirts featuring quotes by Adolf Hitler or carried flags bearing symbols of Nazi Germany. “It’s been going on for a long time in our country,” said Trump, apparently referencing the violence and disorder. “It’s not Donald Trump, it’s not Barack Obama.”
Many Americans were waiting to hear one thing from the president, a strong and explicit rebuke of white supremacy and symbols of hate being paraded down American streets. But he never said it. And that didn’t go unnoticed by his racist supporters.
“Trump comments were good,” wrote the Daily Stormer, a leading American neo-Nazi website associated with the so-called “alt-right” movement. “He didn’t attack us. He just said the nation should come together. Nothing specific against us,” it said.
“He said he loves us all,” the site continued. “No condemnation at all.”
The Stormer also noted that, following his press conference, Trump dodged a question about white nationalists supporting him. “When asked to condemn, he just walked out of the room,” it said. “Really, really good. God bless him.”
Former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke had appeared at the “Unite the Right” rally on Saturday prior to the violence erupting. The purpose of the rally, he said, was to fulfill the promise of Donald Trump.
“This represents a turning point for the people of this country,” Duke said. “We are determined to take our country back, we’re going to fulfill the promises of Donald Trump, and 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 and that’s what we gotta do.”
Dozens of people were injured and at least one protester, a woman, was killed on Saturday after a vehicle crashed into a marching group of counter-protesters who’d gathered to oppose the white supremacists. The fatality was not mentioned by Trump in his live remarks, but he later tweeted condolences and offered “best regards” to those who were injured.
Authorities are now reporting that two people died in a helicopter crash near Charlottesville this afternoon in connected with the rally, though it remains unclear how the deaths and the protests are linked.