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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 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-Colo.) tweeted. 

Gardner was joined by Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioHillicon Valley: Amazon wins union election — says 'our employees made the choice' Overnight Defense: Biden proposes 3B defense budget | Criticism comes in from left and right | Pentagon moves toward new screening for extremists The growing threat of China's lawfare 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 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 (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 GrassleyChuck GrassleyNumber of migrants detained at southern border reaches 15-year high: reports Grassley, Cornyn push for Senate border hearing The Hill's Morning Report - GOP pounces on Biden's infrastructure plan 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 FlakeFive reasons why US faces chronic crisis at border Senate GOP faces retirement brain drain Former GOP lawmaker: Republican Party 'engulfed in lies and fear' MORE (Ariz.) and Tim ScottTimothy (Tim) Eugene ScottPassage of FASTER Act is critical for food allergy community 2024 GOP White House hopefuls lead opposition to Biden Cabinet Democrats justified in filibustering GOP, says Schumer 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.