With leftists crying foul over his diplomatic initial response, President Donald Trump plans to meet with Attorney General Jeff Sessions and FBI Director Christopher Wray in Washington on Monday to discuss the deadly white-nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, according to the White House.
“There is no bigger case right now that we are working on. Every resource will be dedicated to it,” Sessions said on CBS. “I will be asking that we do that kind of thing today.”
On Saturday, Trump denounced the “egregious display of hatred, bigotry, violence — on many sides” in Charlottesville. The White House says he “of course” included white supremacists, neo-Nazis “and all extremist groups” in that statement.
Sessions suggested the president may have more to say about the issue Monday.
“He explicitly condemned the kind of ideology behind these movements of Nazism, white supremacy, the KKK. That is his unequivocal position,” said Sessions on ABC. “I think you’ll hear that again today.”
Sessions also said that the federal government’s civil-rights probe of the car attack in Charlottesville that killed one counter-protester and injured 19 others is well under way. Two Virginia State Police pilots assisting with law enforcement during the rally also died Saturday when their helicopter crashed.
“It does meet the definition of domestic terrorism in our statute,” Sessions said of the car attack. “You can be sure we will charge and advance the investigation for the most serious charges that can be brought.”
Both Democrats and Republicans said over the weekend that Trump missed a chance to unite the country with his remarks on Saturday, in which he condemned “hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides” but failed to specifically call out the white-nationalist groups behind the weekend’s violence, according to a report in Bloomberg Monday.
“He missed an opportunity to be very explicit here,” Senator Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican, told Fox News on Sunday. “These groups seem to believe they have a friend in Donald Trump in the White House.”
Vice President Mike Pence gave the public what it wanted, stating, “We have no tolerance for hate and violence from white supremacists, neo Nazis or the KKK,” during a news conference in Colombia, where he stopped on a tour of Latin America.
The violence also sparked international condemnation.
“These were repulsive scenes” of racism, anti-Semitism, and hate, said a spokesman for German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
She and the entire German government express solidarity “with those who take a peaceful stand against such aggressive right-wing extremist stances,” said spokesman Steffen Seibert at a briefing in Berlin.
Merck & Co.’s CEO resigned from Trump’s council of manufacturing executives Monday, saying “America’s leaders must honor our fundamental values” by rejecting expressions of hatred, bigotry and group supremacy. Frazier announced his resignation on Twitter Monday morning, stating:
“Our country’s strength stems from its diversity and the contributions made by men and women of different faiths, races, sexual orientations and political beliefs.
“America’s leaders must honor our fundamental values by clearly rejecting expressions of hatred, bigotry and group supremacy, which run counter to the American ideal that all people are created equal.
“As CEO of Merck and as a matter of personal conscience, I feel a responsibility to take a stand against intolerance and extremism.
Trump responded less than one hour later on Twitter, suggesting CEO Ken Frazier now focus on lowering “ripoff drug prices.”
Now that Ken Frazier of Merck Pharma has resigned from President's Manufacturing Council,he will have more time to LOWER RIPOFF DRUG PRICES!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 14, 2017
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