Trump condemns Charlottesville violence 'on many sides'

President Trump condemned the "egregious" racially charged clashes in Charlottesville, Va., on Saturday, but he avoided putting more blame on any particular group, saying hatred by "many sides" was to blame.

Trump made the remarks shortly after it was confirmed that one person had been killed and more than a dozen others injured after a car plowed into a crowd of people protesting against white nationalist and Nazi groups marching Saturday in Charlottesville.

"We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides — on many sides," Trump said at a press conference from his New Jersey golf course.

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"It's been going on for a long time in our country. Not Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpIvanka Trump pens op-ed on kindergartners learning tech Bharara, Yates tamp down expectations Mueller will bring criminal charges Overnight Cybersecurity: Equifax security employee left after breach | Lawmakers float bill to reform warrantless surveillance | Intel leaders keeping collusion probe open MORE, not Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaAll five living former presidents to attend hurricane relief concert Overnight Health Care: Schumer calls for tying ObamaCare fix to children's health insurance | Puerto Rico's water woes worsen | Dems plead for nursing home residents' right to sue Interior moves to delay Obama’s methane leak rule MORE. This has been going on for a long, long time," he continued. 

Trump also called attention to the economy during his remarks and praised state and local police at an event meant to highlight accomplishments by the Department of Veterans' Affairs during his administration. 

"Our country is doing very well in so many ways. We have record, just absolute record employment. We have unemployment the lowest it's been in almost seventeen years. We have companies pouring into our country. Foxconn and car companies and so many others, they're coming back to our country. We're renegotiating trade deals to make them great for our country and great for the American worker," he said. 

Trump came under criticism for not condemning the far right groups marching in Virginia, and for instead criticizing violence by "many sides."

"Mr. President - we must call evil by its name. These were white supremacists and this was domestic terrorism," Sen. Cory GardnerCory Scott GardnerRepublicans jockey for position on immigration Bipartisan bill would toughen North Korea sanctions, require Trump's strategy GOP senators push for delay of ObamaCare insurer tax MORE (R-Colo.) wrote on Twitter.

"White supremacists, Neo-Nazis and anti-Semites are the antithesis of our American values," wrote Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a Republican House member from Florida. "There are no other "sides" to hatred and bigotry."

Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioOvernight Defense: Tillerson, Trump deny report of rift | Tillerson says he never considered resigning | Trump expresses 'total confidence' in secretary | Rubio asks Army to kick out West Point grad Rubio asks Army to kick out West Point grad with pro-communist posts GOP establishment doubts Bannon’s primary powers MORE (R-Fla.) said in a message on Twitter it was "very important for the nation to hear @POTUS describe events in #Charlottesville for whgat they are, a terror attack by #whitesupremacists."

White nationalist, white supremacist and alt-right groups were initially scheduled to gather in Charlottesville's Emancipation Park Saturday to protest the city's decision to remove a Confederate statue there.

But as clashes broke out ahead of the so-called "Unite the Right" rally Saturday morning, police declared the gathering an unlawful assembly, breaking up the event before it officially began.

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) confirmed Saturday night that at least three people were killed during the violent clashes, including two police officers in a nearby helicopter crash.

The president first condemned the event on Twitter hours after the violence ensued.  

 
- This post was updated at 7:32 p.m.