Trump Calls Racism "Evil" In Charlottesville Statement, Protesters Deface Confederate Statue In Atlanta
President Donald Trump made a verbal statement about the Charlottesville riots, condemning the actions of white supremacists and nazis who marched in his name over the weekend.
Speaking from the White House Monday (Aug. 14), Trump called racism evil while sending prayers to the victims of the rally. Self-proclaimed white nationalist James Alex Fields was arrested Saturday (Aug. 12) for driving his car into a counter protest of the Nazi rally, killing Heather Heyer. Over 20 others were injured, including Deandre Harris, who was attacked by a group of KKK members. Two state troopers; Lt. H. Jay Cullen and trooper-pilot Berke M.M. Bates died in a helicopter crash as they tried to monitor the "Unite the Right" rally.
“Racism is evil,” Trump said. “And those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs, including the K.K.K., neo-Nazis, white supremacists and other hate groups that are repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans.”
Meanwhile, unrest has continued across the country with a protests in Georgia. As many came together to mourn Heyer, another group marched to Piedmont Park and spray painted the park's Peace statue, the Atlanta-Journal Constitution reports.
Created in 1911, the monument was meant to be an image of peace between the north and south after the Civil War. The statue which features a confederate solider and an angel, has been seen as a symbol of good will and to some, a symbol of the state's confederate past.
Trump's debatable double-down against the incidents Saturday nearly went unnoticed due to his feud with Merck CEO Kenneth Frazier. Early Monday, Frazier resigned from Trump’s American Manufacturing Council in response of the president's silence on white nationalists at the weekend rally. “Our country’s strength stems from its diversity and the contributions made by men and women of different faiths, faces, sexual orientations and political beliefs. America’s leaders must honor our fundamental values by clearly rejecting expressions of hatred, bigotry and group supremacy, which run counter to the American ideal that all people are created equal,” Frazier, who is black, said in a statement. Trump was the center of backlash Saturday for suggesting that "all sides" were to blame for the violence.
Trump tweeted about Frazier's departure shortly after.
The rest of Trump's manufacturing council released statements of their own, condemning the violence. "GE has no tolerance for hate, bigotry or racism, and we strongly condemn the violent extremism in Charlottesville over the weekend. GE, whose Chairman and CEO Jeffrey Immelt is on the council said, via NBC News. GE is a proudly inclusive company with employees who represent all religions, nationalities, sexual orientations and races." Dow Chemcial CEO Andrew Liveris added, "I condemn the violence this weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia, and my thoughts and prayers are with those who lost loved ones and with the people of Virginia."