Republicans — and Democrats — call for Trump to denounce white supremacists after Charlottesville death

Senators and other elected officials from both parties joined in denouncing the violence in Charlottesville, Va., Saturday after clashes between white supremacist marchers and counter protesters left at least one person dead and more than 30 injured. A number of them implicitly, or even explicitly, said President Trump’s response to the incident did not go far enough in opposing white supremacists and right wing extremism.

Shortly after a car drove into a crowd of counter protesters, Trump, who has been reluctant to rebuke the actions of his extremist supporters in the past, gave a statement responding to the “terrible events unfolding in Charlottesville,” telling reporters at his golf club in New Jersey, “We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides.”

A White House official later told to Yahoo News, “The president was condemning hatred, bigotry and violence from all sources and all sides,” adding that, “There was violence between protesters and counter protesters today.”

Slideshow: Violent clashes erupt at ‘Unite the Right’ rally in Charlottesville, Va. >>>

The president’s failure to specifically speak out against white supremacists and other far right extremists, who had descended on Charlottesville for a “Unite the Right” rally to protest the planned removal of a Confederate statue in this relatively moderate university town, drew criticism from within his own party.

That was a theme echoed by Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer:

Others, without mentioning Trump specifically, went out of their way to criticize white supremacy and nationalist extremism.

Meanwhile, the president’s comments on Charlottesville received mixed reviews from the so-called alt-right, the loosely connected movement of white nationalists, neo-Nazis and other far right extremists that gained national recognition as supporters of then-candidate Trump during the 2016 presidential election.

Following a tweet in which Trump called for Americans to “condemn all that hate stands for” and “come together as one,” former KKK Grand Wizard and Trump supporter David Duke replied: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.”

Prominent white nationalist Richard Spencer, who was slated to speak at Saturday’s rally, took issue with another Trump tweet, expressing “deepest condolences to the families & fellow officers of the VA State Police” who died in a helicopter crash not far from the route of the march. The cause of the crash was unknown.

However the Daily Stormer, the neo-Nazi site best known for launching a “troll storm” against the Jewish residents of Spencer’s Montana hometown, was pleased with Trump’s failure to specifically condemn white nationalists.

“No condemnation at all,” reads part of a post on Trump’s comments from the Daily Stormer’s liveblog of the events in Charlottesville. “When asked to condemn, he just walked out of the room…Really, really good….God bless him.”

Up to 6,000 people were expected to gather in Charlottesville for Saturday’s rally, which the Southern Poverty Law Center warned earlier this week, was “shaping up to be the largest hate-gathering of its kind in decades in the United States.”

White nationalists, neo-Nazis and members of the
White nationalists, neo-Nazis and members of the alt-right clash with counter protesters in Charlottesville on Aug. 12. (Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Fights began breaking out Friday night as counter protesters confronted rally-goers marching with torches on the University of Virginia campus. On Saturday, continued clashes in Charlottesville prompted Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe to declare a state of emergency, as city officials ultimately deemed the rally an unlawful assembly, leading police to arrest several protesters as they cleared the park where the event was slated to take place.

At a press conference Saturday evening, McAuliffe issued a message directly to those who’d come to participate in Saturday’s rally: “Go home… You are not wanted in this great commonwealth. Shame on you.”

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