Republican lawmakers criticize Trump response to Charlottesville

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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 Gardner (R-Colo.) tweeted. 

Gardner was joined by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) in directly calling out Trump. 

{mosads}”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 Hatch (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 Grassley (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 Flake (Ariz.) and Tim Scott (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. 

Tags Chuck Grassley Cory Gardner Jeff Flake Marco Rubio Orrin Hatch Tim Scott
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