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'We must call evil by its name': Trump slammed for not specifically condemning white nationalists in Charlottesville

Rescue workers tending to the injured at the rally in Charlottesville, Va (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

NEW YORK CITY — US President Donald Trump drew sharp criticism for not singling out white nationalists when he condemned the  violent clashes that turned deadly in Charlottesville, Virginia. 

“We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry, and violence on many sides,” Trump said at a press conference. “On many sides.”

He added: “It’s been going on for a long, long time in our country. Not Donald Trump. Not Barack Obama. It’s been going on for a long, long time.”

Observers quickly latched onto Trump’s statements and slammed him for not explicitly rebuking the #UniteTheRight white nationalist rally that was called in response to a plan to remove a statue of Confederate general Robert E. Lee from a park in Charlottesville, Virginia.

“Morning Joe” co-host Joe Scarborough, whom Trump has frequently criticised on Twitter, also weighed in. 

Lawmakers added their voices, including Republican Sen. Cory Gardner. “Mr. President – we must call evil by its name,” Gardner tweeted. “These were white supremacists and this was domestic terrorism.”

Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin criticised Trump as well. “No, Mr. President, not ‘many sides.’ There is one side with nazi flags and nazi salutes. America is not on that side,” Durbin tweeted after Trump’s statement. 

“The violence, chaos, and apparent loss of life in Charlottesville is not the fault of ‘many sides,'” tweeted Virginia’s attorney general, Mark Herring. “It is racists and white supremacists.”

Some Twitter users also called Trump out for lambasting former President Barack Obama for not using the term, “radical Islamic terrorism,” while he himself did not specifically denounce white nationalists in Charlottesville. 

Saturday’s demonstrations turned deadly when a car plowed through a crowd of counter-protesters, resulting in multiple injuries and at least one death. 

One witness had two friends who were hit by the car and had to take them to the hospital. The witness described the incident as “absolutely intentional.” 

“A packed street and a car comes speeding down, at least 40 mph and rams into everyone, backs up and does it again,” they said in a text message to Outline staff writer William Turton.

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