Charlottesville: Trump under fire for failing to directly condemn Virginia white supremacists

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Charlottesville: Trump under fire for failing to directly condemn Virginia white supremacists

Mike Signer, the mayor of Charlottesville, attacked U.S. President Donald Trump on Sunday morning, telling CNN in an interview: "Look at the campaign he ran".

The US President has refused to condemn the actions of the neo-Nazis, skinheads, and members of the Ku Klux Klan who descended on the Virginia city on Saturday yelling racial abuse, brandishing flaming torches, carrying assault rifles and wearing paramilitary clothing. The president did not single out any group, instead blaming "many sides" for the violence. "It's been going on for a long time in our country".

"Mr President - we must call evil by its name".

"To be honest, this is not about Donald Trump", Signer said, adding that the violence from white supremacists demonstrated that the country's core democratic principles were eroding, but people had an opportunity to change for the better.

On the same program, White House Homeland Security adviser Tom Bossert defended Trump's remarks, saying the President's statement did not equivocate the white supremacists with the counterprotesters.

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Trump said there was hate and bigotry "on many sides".

"I think you've belabored it so let me say I condemn white supremacists, and nazis, and groups that favour this type of exclusion", Bossert said.

Bossert said Trump's statement was aimed at calming the situation in Charlottesville and emphasized that people should focus on the portion of the President's statement calling for unity and denouncing bigotry.

Bossert himself is specifically condemned the racist groups.

A White House spokesperson said Sunday that President Trump condemns white supremacists and other forces behind the violence in Charlottesville, Va., this weekend. Counter-protesters massed in opposition.

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Still, the tone and tenor of the president's comments on Saturday - noticeably less fiery than what he has had to say on Twitter and in public settings about the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, and the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell - reflected Mr. Trump's own thinking.

The protest began on Friday night when hundreds of far-right protesters chanting phrases such as "white lives matter" and "Jews will not replace us" gathered to demonstrate against the proposed removal of a statue to Robert E Lee, the Confederate general who led the pro-slavery southern states in the American civil war. He didn't attack us. He didn't mention the vehicle that had driven into a crowd of counter-protesters in Charlottesville - a tactic that has been repeatedly used by Islamic State terrorists. Nothing specific against us.

The president kept quiet as Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) declared a state of emergency - and as Trump's own wife responded, writing in a tweet that "no good comes from violence". "#Charlottesville." She also posted: "There should be no place in society for racism, white supremacy and neo-nazis".

But some of the white nationalists cited Trump's victory as validation for their beliefs, and Trump's critics pointed to the president's racially tinged rhetoric as exploiting the nation's festering racial tension.

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