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Sessions on Trump's Charlottesville statement: He was 'unequivocal' in criticizing racism and bigotry

Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsDOJ to probe Minneapolis police Garland rescinds Trump-era memo curtailing consent decrees Biden picks vocal Trump critics to lead immigration agencies MORE on Monday defended President Trump's comments on the violent clashes Saturday in Charlottesville, Va.

During an interview on ABC's "Good Morning America," Sessions was asked "what sides" Trump was referring to in his statement condemning the violence in Virginia.

"Racism, white supremacy is totally unacceptable. I think the president talked about the problems in America in that first statement had been going on a long time," Sessions said.

Sessions said Trump was "unequivocal" in criticizing racism and bigotry.

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Sessions said Trump in his statement "explicitly condemned the kind of ideology behind these movements of Nazism, white supremacy, the KKK."

"That is his unequivocal position. He totally opposes those kind of values," Sessions said.

"His statement yesterday again affirmed that."

Asked if Trump needs to specifically condemn neo-Nazis and white supremacists, Sessions responded "absolutely."

Trump faced criticism for his comments, in which he denounced violence by "many sides" in Charlottesville, but didn't directly call out hate groups marching in the city.

A white supremacist rally in the college town turned deadly when a car was driven into counterprotesters, killing one and injuring at least 19 others. The alleged driver, 20-year-old James Alex Fields Jr., who had driven from Ohio to participate in the rally, was arrested and charged with second-degree murder, among other charges. 

Some officials said Trump should have gone further in his response condemning the violence.