The White House said in a statement Sunday that when President Donald Trump condemned “all forms of violence, bigotry and hatred” that were on display in Charlottesville this weekend “of course that includes white supremacists, KKK, Neo-Nazi and all extremist groups.”
The White House’s clarification stopped far short of what a growing number of Republicans have urged the president to do: directly call out and condemn white supremacy.
And three of Trump‘s top advisers appeared on Sunday morning news shows to defend the vague statement that the president delivered the previous afternoon at his private golf club in New Jersey, although their messaging shifted as the morning progressed. Ivanka Trump, the president’s eldest daughter and a top adviser, broke with her father’s messaging Sunday morning to tweet: “There should be no place in society for racism, white supremacy and neo-nazis.”
National security adviser H.R. McMaster said on ABC News that the president was “very clear” in his statement and “called out anyone, anyone who is responsible for fomenting this kind of bigotry, hatred, racism and violence.” Later in the morning, McMaster added on NBC News that it “ought to be clear to all Americans” that Trump’s comments about bigotry and hatred included white supremacists and neo-Nazis. He also said that he considers the death of a counterprotester in Charlottesville on Saturday an act of terrorism.
CIA Director Mike Pompeo said on CBS News that the president was “specific,” “very clear” and, “frankly, pretty unambiguous” in responding to the violence. He added: “When someone marches with a Nazi flag, that is unacceptable, but I think that’s what the president’s saying.”
And Tom Bossert, Trump’s homeland security adviser, who has been in direct contact with Charlottesville authorities, repeatedly praised the president on CNN for not naming the groups that were involved and instead focusing on an overarching call for…