President Trump has faced criticism from the left over the way he worded his response to the Charlottesville violence, as he did not specifically say the words “white supremacists.”
Both Vice President Mike Pence and Attorney General Jeff Sessions have spoken out in defense of Trump’s statement.
After the horrific violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, on Saturday, President Trump spoke out and condemned the entire chain of events, saying, “We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides, on many sides.”
In an interview on ABC’s “Good Morning, America” Monday morning, Sessions was pounded with questions about what Trump meant when he said “on many sides,” as it was a “white nationalist rally.”
“What sides is he talking about here?” the host asked Sessions.
“Racism, white supremacy … is totally unacceptable. I think the president talked about the problems in America in that first statement … had been going on a long time,” Sessions responded.
“He explicitly condemned the kind of ideology behind these movements of Nazism, white supremacy, the KKK. That is his unequivocal position. He totally opposes those [kinds] of values. His statement yesterday again affirmed that,” Sessions added.
Amid criticism over Trump’s “many sides” statement, Sessions says Trump “explicitly condemned the kind of ideology behind these movements.” pic.twitter.com/YStvq0LSub
— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) August 14, 2017
As if the matter was still not clarified, one of the ABC hosts asked Sessions again, “To be clear, does the president today need to specifically … need to condemn neo-Nazis and white supremacists? Will he do that?”
“Absolutely,” Sessions responded.
— Norah O’Donnell🇺🇸 (@NorahODonnell) August 14, 2017
On Sunday, Vice President Mike Pence also added his support to President Trump and clarified the fierce condemnation of Saturday’s violence in Charlottesville.
Speaking during a press conference in Cartagena, Columbia, Pence confirmed, “We have no tolerance for hate and violence, white supremacists, or neo-Nazis or the KKK.”
Pence confirmed that President Trump “clearly and unambiguously” condemned what happened in Charlottesville. He said such groups are “dangerous fringe groups” and added, “We condemn them in the strongest possible terms.”
“The president also made clear that behavior by others of different militant perspectives are also unacceptable in our political debate and discourse,” Pence said.
Pence also spoke out against the media for being critical of Trump’s response.
“I take issue with the fact that many in the national media spent more time criticizing the president’s words than they did criticizing those that perpetuated the violence to begin with. We should be putting the attention where it belongs, and that is on those extremist groups that need to be pushed out of the public debate entirely and discredited for the hate groups and dangerous fringe groups that they are,” Pence said.
National security adviser H.R. McMaster also defended President Trump’s comments on Sunday.
“The president has been very clear,” McMaster said on ABC’s “This Week.” “We cannot tolerate this kind of bigotry, this kind of hatred. And what he did is he called on all Americans to take a firm stand against it.”
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