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 GardnerSenate Republicans eye rules change to speed Trump nominees Overnight Defense: Trump unveils new missile defense plan | Dems express alarm | Shutdown hits Day 27 | Trump cancels Pelosi foreign trip | Senators offer bill to prevent NATO withdrawal Bipartisan senators reintroduce bill to prevent Trump from withdrawing from NATO MORE (R-Colo.) tweeted. 

Gardner was joined by Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioSenate Republicans eye rules change to speed Trump nominees Overnight Defense: Trump unveils new missile defense plan | Dems express alarm | Shutdown hits Day 27 | Trump cancels Pelosi foreign trip | Senators offer bill to prevent NATO withdrawal Bipartisan senators reintroduce bill to prevent Trump from withdrawing from NATO 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 HatchPhRMA CEO 'hopeful' Trump officials will back down on drug pricing move Live coverage: Trump AG pick grilled on Mueller probe at confirmation hearing Trump praises RNC chairwoman after she criticizes her uncle Mitt Romney 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 GrassleySenate Republicans eye rules change to speed Trump nominees IRS shutdown plan fails to quell worries Overnight Health Care: Dem chair plans hearing on Medicare for all | Senate GOP talks drug prices with Trump health chief | PhRMA CEO hopeful Trump reverses course on controversial pricing proposal 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 FlakeSchumer recruiting top-notch candidate for McCain Senate seat The Hill's Morning Report — Trump eyes wall money options as shutdown hits 21 days Poll: Sanders most popular senator, Flake least MORE (Ariz.) and Tim ScottTimothy (Tim) Eugene ScottIf Republicans rebuked Steve King, they must challenge Donald Trump McConnell rebukes Steve King over white nationalist comments Steve King faces new storm over remarks about white supremacy 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.