Senior officers in the U.S. Armed Forces are strongly condemning the resurgent white nationalism that has shocked the country the past few days — in what many read as an implicit rebuke of their commander in chief.
President Trump has vacillated between blaming “both sides” and specifically condemning the white nationalists who organized a violent rally last weekend in Charlottesville, Va., that left one counterprotester dead. On Tuesday, Trump insisted there were some “very good people” at the Charlottesville “Unite the Right” rally, which opposed the removal of a Confederate statue from the city.
Related slideshow: Violent clashes erupt at ‘Unite the Right’ rally in Charlottesville, Va. >>>
“Not all of those people were neo-Nazis, believe me. Not all of those people were white supremacists by any stretch,” he said at Trump Tower.
Mere hours after Trump spoke, the Marine Corps commandant, Gen. Robert B. Neller, said that racial hatred or extremism have no place in the United States Marine Corps.
No place for racial hatred or extremism in @USMC. Our core values of Honor, Courage, and Commitment frame the way Marines live and act.
— Robert B. Neller (@GenRobertNeller) August 15, 2017
Early Wednesday morning, Gen. Mark A. Milley, the chief of staff of the Army, affirmed that racism, extremism and hatred are against everything his organization has stood for since the Continental Army was founded in 1775 to fight the American Revolutionary War.
The Army doesn't tolerate racism, extremism, or hatred in our ranks. It's against our Values and everything we've stood for since 1775.
— GEN Mark A. Milley (@ArmyChiefStaff) August 16, 2017
Retired four-star Adm. William H. McRaven, the former commander of the United States Special Operations Command, has been outspoken in his criticism of Trump. He told Yahoo News Wednesday, “I have nothing to add to what the Commandant and the Army Chief said. Glad they spoke up!”
Gen. David Goldfein, chief of staff of the Air Force, released a statement Wednesday backing up his fellow service chiefs that borrowed a phrase from former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s campaign: “Stronger together.”
— Gen. Dave Goldfein (@GenDaveGoldfein) August 16, 2017
Heather Wilson, the secretary of the U.S. Air Force, retweeted Goldfein’s message.
Gen. Joseph L. Lengyel, the chief of the National Guard, said that he stands with his fellow joint chiefs in opposing racism and supporting diversity.
I stand with my fellow Joint Chiefs in condemning racism, extremism & hatred. Our diversity is our strength. #NationalGuard
— Gen. Joseph Lengyel (@ChiefNGB) August 16, 2017
In the immediate aftermath of the violent clash on Saturday, Adm. John Richardson, the chief of naval operations, released a statement affirming that the Navy will forever oppose intolerance and hatred:
“The shameful events in Charlottesville are unacceptable and must not be tolerated.
Our thoughts and prayers go to those who were killed and injured, and to all those trying to bring peace back to the community.
The Navy will forever stand against intolerance and hatred.
For those on our team, we want our Navy to be the safest possible place–a team as strong and tough as we can be, saving violence only for our enemies.”
And it’s not just current or recent military officers who are frustrated with the president’s surprisingly restrained critique of Nazism. Americans who lived through World War II refuse allow neo-Nazis to spread bigotry unchallenged.
I signed up to fight Nazis 73 years ago and I'll do it again if I have to.
Hatred, bigotry, & fascism should have no place in this country.
— John Dingell (@JohnDingell) August 12, 2017
We should call evil by its name. My brother didn't give his life fighting Hitler for Nazi ideas to go unchallenged here at home. -OGH
— Senator Hatch Office (@senorrinhatch) August 12, 2017
World War II veteran and former President George H.W. Bush released a joint statement with his son, former President George W. Bush, on Wednesday calling on Americans to reject “racial bigotry, anti-Semitism, and hatred in all forms.”
Read more from Yahoo News:
- How presidents should speak about racist violence: Lessons from history
- As neo-Nazis grow bolder, the ‘antifa’ has emerged to fight them
- U.S. cuts grant for group that seeks to deradicalize neo-Nazis
- Jacksonville reassesses Confederate monuments in Charlottesville’s aftermath
- Photos: Confederate statue toppled in Durham, N.C.; others vandalized as cities consider removal of such monuments