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White House clarifies: We condemn all violence

White House clarifies: We condemn all violence
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On Sunday, the White House was forced to clarify that President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump: LeBron James's 'racist rants' are divisive, nasty North Carolina man accused of fraudulently obtaining .5M in PPP loans Biden announces picks to lead oceans, lands agencies MORE "condemns all forms of violence, bigotry and hatred" in a statement following up on the Saturday protests in Charlottesville, Va.

"Of course" the president condemns violence by "white supremacists, KKK Neo-Nazi and all extremist groups," a White House spokesperson said in a statement. 

Trump the previous day declined to name the groups behind the rally, instead blaming "hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides — on many sides."

"The president said very strongly in his statement yesterday that he condemns all forms of violence, bigotry, and hatred," the White House clarified on Sunday. "He called for national unity and bringing all Americans together."

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The official statement comes after lawmakers on both sides of the aisle blamed Trump for failing to take a strong enough stand in a statement that followed a day of violence that left multiple people injured and three dead — one due to a car mowing down protesters and two others in a helicopter crash.

Sen. Cory GardnerCory GardnerBiden administration reverses Trump changes it says 'undermined' conservation program Gardner to lead new GOP super PAC ahead of midterms OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Court rules against fast-track of Trump EPA's 'secret science' rule | Bureau of Land Management exodus: Agency lost 87 percent of staff in Trump HQ relocation | GM commits to electric light duty fleet by 2035 MORE (R-Co.) was one of the first senators to criticize Trump for his remarks, urging him to "call evil by its name."

Various other Republican senators also criticized Trump, including Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck GrassleyChuck GrassleySenate locks in hate crimes deal, setting up Thursday passage Conservative House members call on Senate to oppose ATF nominee House votes to extend ban on fentanyl-like substances MORE (R-Iowa), second ranking Senate Republican Sen. Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchPress: Forget bipartisanship — it's dead! Privatization of foster care has been a disaster for children Remembering Ted Kennedy highlights decline of the Senate MORE (R-Utah) and Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioTim Scott to deliver GOP response to Biden's speech to Congress GOP sees immigration as path to regain power Bipartisan group of senators holds immigration talks amid border surge MORE (R-Fla.).

Democrats also took aim at the president's comments.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) gave the president advice on how to confront white supremacy, while former Vice President BidenJoe BidenBiden announces picks to lead oceans, lands agencies Overnight Defense: Top general concerned about Afghan forces after US troops leave | Pentagon chief: Climate crisis 'existential' threat to US national security | Army conducts review after 4 Black soldiers harassed at Virginia IHOP Feds expect to charge scores more in connection to Capitol riot MORE publicly took issue with Trump's claim that "many sides" were responsible for the violence.

Trump's comments on the violent clashes in Charlottesville took the spotlight Sunday despite ongoing high tension with North Korea.

Much of the past week had been dominated by news of Trump's intensifying rhetoric toward North Korea.

But on Sunday, officials instead focused on the president's responses to the situation in Charlottesville.

Top White House aides on Sunday defended the president. National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster said he thinks Trump has been "very clear" in his response, adding that the county can't "tolerate this kind of bigotry."

But other officials and lawmakers criticized Trump for not going farther in his statement condemning the violence, with former White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci saying Trump needed to be "harsher as it related to the white supremacists."

Trump first condemned the violence in Charlottesville via Twitter on Saturday, and called for national unity.

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

"It's been going on for a long time in our country. Not Donald Trump. Not Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaBiden's self-inflicted crisis Biden inaugural committee raised M with big sums from billionaires, corporations To confront corporate power, President Biden needs Jonathan Kanter MORE. This has been going on for a long, long time," he continued, before highlighting his administration's accomplishments. 

Trump frequently lambasted former President Barack Obama for not naming names following attacks, particularly for not using the phrase "radical Islamic terror." 

White nationalist groups had gathered in the Charlottesville on Saturday to protest the removal of a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) declared a state of emergency following the violent outbreak.

The Department of Justice has opened a civil rights investigation into the crash. 

- Rebecca Savransky contributed to this report which was last updated at 3:33 p.m.