CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (Reuters) – President Donald Trump included the Ku Klux Klan and neo-Nazi groups in condemning violence after a white nationalist rally, the White House said on Sunday, the day after he was criticized on the left and right for not explicitly condemning white supremacists.
U.S. authorities are investigating the outbreak of violence, which has put new pressure on the Trump administration to take an unequivocal stand against that segment of his political base. Some rightists have claimed allegiance to Trump, a Republican.
A 32-year-old woman was killed and 19 injured, five critically, on Saturday when a man plowed a car into a crowd of people objecting to the white nationalist rally in the Southern college town of Charlottesville. About 15 people were injured after rival groups fought pitched battles using fists, rocks and pepper spray in the streets.
Trump was criticized by Republicans and Democrats for waiting too long to address the violence and when he did so, failing to explicitly condemn the white-supremacist marchers who ignited the melee.
On Sunday, however, the White House said in a statement that Trump’s message on Saturday “condemns all forms of violence, bigotry, and hatred, and of course that includes white supremacists, KKK, neo-Nazi, and all extremist groups. He called for national unity and bringing all Americans together.”
Trump, speaking at his golf resort in New Jersey on Saturday, had said that “many sides” were involved in Charlottesville. He made no reply to a reporter’s shouted question whether he had spoken out strongly enough against white nationalists.
“We condemn, in the strongest possible terms, this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides,” he said.
‘WHITE NATIONALIST, WHITE SUPREMACIST’
Virginia police have not yet provided a motive for a man who rammed a car into the crowd, but U.S. prosecutors and the Federal Bureau of Investigation have opened a civil rights investigation, an FBI…