First daughter Ivanka Trump said the United States will not tolerate neo-Nazis in a tweet Sunday morning, a day after violence erupted at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia that saw one person killed. Her remarks come after her father, President Donald Trump, declined to speak out against the racist protesters gathered at the “Unite the Right” event, many who said they were emboldened by his White House agenda and relationships with white nationalist leaders.
“There should be no place in society for racism, white supremacy and neo-Nazis,” Ivanka Trump, who works unpaid at the White House as an adviser to the president, wrote on Twitter. “We must all come together as Americans — and be one country UNITED.”
In contrast, the president said Saturday there were “many sides” to blame for the violence after counter-protesters showed up to express discontent with the message of the white nationalism rally. “We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides — on many sides,” Trump said during a press conference form his New Jersey golf course, adding that he was not to blame for the racial tensions. “It’s been going on for a long time in our country. Not Donald Trump, not Barack Obama. This has been going on for a long, long time,” he continued.
The president was not expected to visit Virginia Sunday or speak about the violence in public remarks. He had no public events on his schedule. A White House spokesperson told reporters Sunday: “The President said very strongly in his statement yesterday that he condemns all forms of violence, bigotry, and hatred. Of course that includes white supremacists, KKK Neo-Nazi and all extremist groups. He called for national unity and bringing all Americans together.”
But leaders from across the political spectrum called on the president to issue a stronger statement, and others also were critical of Ivanka Trump for taking so long to rebuke the neo-Nazis who came out to rally for her father.
“Very important for the nation to hear [President Trump] describe events in Charlottesville for what they are, a terror attack by white supremacists,” Florida Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) wrote on Twitter.
Republican Senator Cory Gardner of Colorado said, “Mr President – we must call evil by its name.” He added: “These were white supremacists and this was domestic terrorism.”
The white nationalists and alt-right groups, including Ku Klux Klan members, held the event at Charlottesville’s Emancipation Park Saturday to protest a citywide campaign to remove a Confederate statue. Other cities, including New Orleans, have pushed to take down Confederate statues in recent months since a shooting at a historic black South Carolina church by white nationalist Dylann Roof in June 2015.
During the Charlottesville protest, police sought to temper tensions between the white nationalist marchers and anti-fascism protesters, at one point declaring the event an unlawful assembly. Moments later, a man rammed his car into the crowd of counter-protesters, killing one woman and injuring 19 others.
White House homeland security adviser Tom Bossert defended Donald Trump’s remarks Sunday, saying it was important to not name names. “The president not only condemned the violence and stood up at a time and a moment when calm was necessary and didn’t dignify the names of these groups of people, but rather addressed the fundamental issue,” Bossert told CNN’s Jake Tapper on State of the Union. “What you need to focus on is the rest of his statement. The president didn’t just call for human beings to respect one another, which is his pragmatist, core fundamental bare minimum, but he called for ideally Americans to love one another, for all of God’s children to love one another. That is a fundamental assault on the hatred that we’re seeing here,” he continued.
The New York Times published an op-ed Sunday titled, “What Trump Got Wrong on Charlottesville” from conservative leader Erick-Woods Erickson, the editor of the website The Resurgent. “This president is our president. He is the president of the United States. But as we become less united as a nation, he seems unwilling or unable to speak with conviction and moral clarity. We will all be worse off for it,” Erickson wrote.
A CNN analysis of the president’s statement was titled, “Donald Trump’s incredibly unpresidential statement on Charlottesville.” It read, “Both sides don’t scream racist and anti-Semitic things at people with whom they disagree. They don’t base a belief system on the superiority of one race over others. They don’t get into fistfights with people who don’t see things their way. They don’t create chaos and leave a trail of injured behind them.”
Neo-Nazi publication The Daily Stormer praised Trump’s comments as “good.” “He didn’t attack us. He just said the nation should come together. Nothing specific against us. He said that we need to study why people are so angry, and implied that there was hate … on both sides! So he implied the antifa [anti-fascists] are haters. There was virtually no counter-signaling of us at all. He said he loves us all. Also refused to answer a question about White Nationalists supporting him. No condemnation at all. When asked to condemn, he just walked out of the room. Really, really good. God bless him,” the site declared.