Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell declared Wednesday that neo-Nazi and white supremacist groups “should not be welcome anywhere in America” and that “we all have a responsibility to stand against hate and violence, wherever it raises its evil head.”
Unlike some Republicans, such as Sen. Marco Rubio, McConnell made no direct mention of President Trump. But his statement seemed — and was viewed by one White House adviser — as a pointed rebuke to the president’s press conference remark Tuesday that “you also had some very fine people on both sides” in the violent protests in Charlottesville over the weekend.
“There are no good neo-Nazis, and those who espouse their views are not supporters of American ideals and freedoms,” McConnell said in a statement released by his press office.
“He’s basically saying f*** you to the president,” said one White House adviser when he was read McConnell’s statement by a reporter.
Because he has said relatively little since the public uproar over Trump’s reaction to the Charlottesville protests, McConnell’s comments were being watched closely in GOP circles Wednesday. McConnell’s wife, Elaine Chao, serves in President Trump’s Cabinet as labor secretary and stood next to the president Tuesday while he made his controversial remarks at a press conference at Trump Tower.
McConnell’s comments were also prompted by reports that the same group of white supremacists and neo-Nazis were planning a rally in Lexington, Ky. “Their messages of hate and bigotry are not welcome in Kentucky and should not be welcome anywhere in America,” McConnell said.
Here is the full text of McConnell’s comments:
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) released the following statement today condemning hate groups and reports of a rally in Lexington, Kentucky:
“The white supremacist, KKK, and neo-nazi groups who brought hatred and violence to Charlottesville are now planning a rally in Lexington. Their messages of hate and bigotry are not welcome in Kentucky and should not be welcome anywhere in America.
“We can have no tolerance for an ideology of racial hatred. There are no good neo-nazis, and those who espouse their views are not supporters of American ideals and freedoms. We all have a responsibility to stand against hate and violence, wherever it raises its evil head.”
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