The deadly clashes in Charlottesville, Virginia have drawn across-the-board condemnation of violence and bigotry, including from US President Donald Trump, but even some Republicans are calling for the president to call out white supremacists by name.
“We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence, on many sides. On many sides,” Trump said on Saturday.
The remarks drew criticism from some GOP lawmakers as generic and insufficient to the moment, and took exception to the president’s use of a kind of equivalence in condemning the violence.
Republican Senator Cory Gardner said on Twitter that “we must call evil by its name. These were white supremacists and this was domestic terrorism.”
Senator Marco Rubio, also a Republican, wrote on Twitter that it was “very important for the nation to hear @potus describe events in #Charlottesville for what they are, a terror attack by #whitesupremacists.”
Republican Senator Ted Cruz asked the Department of Justice to investigate the Charlottesville crash as terrorism. He wrote that “these bigots want to tear our country apart, but they will fail. America is far better than this”.
Trump said in his remarks that the discord has “been going on for a long time in our country. Not Donald Trump, not Barack Obama. This has been going on for a long, long time.
“It has no place in America. What is vital now is a swift restoration of law and order and the protection of innocent lives.
“No citizen should ever fear for their safety and security in our society, and no child should ever be afraid to go outside and play, or be with their parents, and have a good time.”
Michael Reagan, the son of Ronald Reagan who has been supportive of Trump, said that Trump needed to denounce former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke who was in Charlottesville.
Duke told reporters that the protesters “are going to fulfill the promises of Donald Trump”.
After Trump condemned the violence and bigotry, Duke tweeted to Trump, “I would recommend you take a good look in the mirror & remember it was White Americans who put you in the presidency, not radical leftists.”