Republican lawmakers criticize Trump response to Charlottesville

Republican lawmakers went after President Trump on Saturday over his statement on violent clashes in Charlottesville, Va., with one senator saying Trump should call it a "terror attack by white supremacists." 

"Mr. President - we must call evil by its name. These were white supremacists and this was domestic terrorism," Sen. Cory GardnerCory Scott GardnerBusinesses fear blowback from Russia sanctions bill Senate GOP campaign arm asking Trump to endorse McSally in Arizona: report When it comes to drone tech, wildfire officials need the rights tools for the job MORE (R-Colo.) tweeted. 

Gardner was joined by Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioGOP looks to injure Nelson over Russia comments Rubio’s pro-family, conservative family leave policy promotes stability Dems make history in Tuesday's primaries MORE (R-Fla.) in directly calling out Trump. 

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"Very important for the nation to hear [President Trump] describe events in Charlottesville for what they are, a terror attack by white supremacists," Rubio said on Twitter. 

The Senate's second-highest ranking Republican, Sen. Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchSentencing reform deal heats up, pitting Trump against reliable allies Dem lawmaker calls Trump racist in response to 'dog' comment PETA calls out Trump for attacking Omarosa as a 'dog' MORE (Utah), said not calling out neo-Nazis was personal for him, recalling his brother's death in World War II.

"We should call evil by its name. My brother didn't give his life fighting Hitler for Nazi ideas to go unchallenged here at home," Hatch tweeted.  

Trump condemned the "egregious" clashes at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va., on Saturday, but he avoided putting blame on any particular group, instead saying hatred by "many sides" were to blame.

Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyDemocrats question if Kavanaugh lied about work on terrorism policy The Hill's Morning Report: Dems have a majority in the Senate (this week) Connect Beltway to America to get federal criminal justice reform done MORE (R-Iowa) took to Twitter to say white nationalists were taking part in homegrown terrorism.  

"What 'White Nationalists' are doing in Charlottesville is homegrown terrorism that can't be tolerated anymore that what any extremist does," Grassley said. 

Republican Sens. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeVoters will punish Congress for ignoring duty on war and peace GOP Senate candidate truncates Trump tweet in campaign mailer GOP senator reviving effort to rein in Trump on tariffs MORE (Ariz.) and Tim ScottTimothy (Tim) Eugene ScottTim Scott says former intern shot in Chicago is recovering Tim Scott: Trump has taken steps 'to move us in a better direction' since Charlottesville Sunday shows preview: Virginia lawmakers talk Charlottesville, anniversary protests MORE (S.C.) also chimed in.

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 one counter-protester was killed in the violent clashes, and two police officers died in a nearby helicopter crash during the rally.

- This post was updated at 7:36 p.m.