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GOP lawmaker: Trump 'failing' in Charlottesville response

GOP lawmaker: Trump 'failing' in Charlottesville response
© Greg Nash

A House Republican said Wednesday that President Trump is “failing” in his equivocating response to the violence stemming from a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va.

Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.), a freshman and retired Marine, said that Trump’s casting of blame on “both sides” for the fatal violence between white supremacists and counterprotesters sent the wrong message.

"The president needs to be crystal clear that hatred has no place in our society, but he is currently failing at it,” Gallagher said when asked about Trump's comments, according to The Associated Press.

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Gallagher added that white nationalism and racism are "antithetical to our fundamental values."

Trump initially said over the weekend that the violence, which included a car being driven into a crowd of counterprotesters and killing one woman, was caused by “many sides.” Two days later, under intense pressure from Republicans and Democrats, Trump delivered a statement from the White House declaring that “racism is evil” and specifically condemned groups like the KKK and neo-Nazis.

But on Tuesday, Trump insisted again that “both sides” were at fault for the violence during a press conference at Trump Tower. He also added that there were “very fine people, on both sides.”

Republicans in Congress have been critical of Trump’s handling of the violence in Charlottesville.

But most GOP lawmakers have offered general denunciations of racism and white nationalism that don't specifically call out Trump by name.

Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanBoehner book jacket teases slams against Cruz, Trump CPAC, all-in for Trump, is not what it used to be Cruz hires Trump campaign press aide as communications director MORE (R-Wis.), for instance, tweeted on Tuesday after Trump’s latest remarks that “We must be clear. White supremacy is repulsive. This bigotry is counter to all this country stands for. There can be no moral ambiguity.”