As Dems speak out, Trump silent on white supremacist violence in Virginia
[See update] White supremacists are terrorizing Charlottesville, Virginia, with scattered rebukes from Republicans — and not a word yet from Donald Trump or Mike Pence.
[See update below]
As white supremacists in Charlottesville continue to push their bigoted, hate-filled message with violent attacks, Democrats and progressives are speaking out loudly and clearly against this dangerous ideology and action.
Sadly, in 2017, speaking out against hate appears to be a largely partisan affair, with very few Republicans offering public repudiations — and at the time of writing, no statements or even tweets from Donald Trump or Mike Pence, though Trump’s wife Melania did call for people “to communicate w/o hate in our hearts.”
But a single tweet from the first lady is not a substitute for action from the Executive Branch.
In the meantime, plenty of Democrats have made it clear how repugnant the words and actions of these neo-Nazis are, and how crucial it is to reject their toxic world views.
Virginia’s governor, Terry McAuliffe:
The acts and rhetoric in #Charlottesville over past 24 hours are unacceptable & must stop. A right to speech is not a right to violence.
— Terry McAuliffe (@GovernorVA) August 12, 2017
DNC chair Tom Perez:
The vile & bigoted display of hate in #Charlottesville has no place in America. We stand against white supremacy wherever it appears.
— Tom Perez (@TomPerez) August 12, 2017
Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren:
Racism, bigotry & hate are wrong – in Charlottesville & anywhere else in this country. We should be a better people than that.
— Elizabeth Warren (@SenWarren) August 12, 2017
Former Charlottesville congressman Tom Perriello:
Really hard to choose between the medieval times codsplay nazis and the Abercrombie preppy nazis invading my hometown. pic.twitter.com/lrZXGIb5fp
— Tom Perriello (@tomperriello) August 12, 2017
Virginia Democratic candidate for governor Ralph Northam:
Ralph's statement on last night’s demonstration and today’s planned rally by white supremacists in Charlottesville: pic.twitter.com/h8HCBAd699
— Ralph Northam (@RalphNortham) August 12, 2017
Virginia senator Mark Warner:
To the white nationalists descending on Charlottesville: go back to where you came from. Hate has no place in Va. https://t.co/N20CRZ3Fr4
— Mark Warner (@MarkWarner) August 11, 2017
California Rep. Eric Swalwell offered a stark contrast:
— Rep. Eric Swalwell (@RepSwalwell) August 12, 2017
And Vermont senator Patrick Leahy hit Trump for his silence:
President Trump's silence as #Charlottesville roils with racist and fascist provocatation is shameful, irresponsible…and, DEFINING.
— Sen. Patrick Leahy (@SenatorLeahy) August 12, 2017
While Trump and Pence as of now have remained silent, they could instead follow the lead of their own party, as some Republicans are notably speaking out, including Ronna McDaniel, the chairwoman of the GOP:
The hate & bigotry on display in #charlottesville is dangerous & cowardly.
— Ronna McDaniel (@GOPChairwoman) August 12, 2017
House Speaker Paul Ryan:
The views fueling the spectacle in Charlottesville are repugnant. Let it only serve to unite Americans against this kind of vile bigotry.
— Paul Ryan (@SpeakerRyan) August 12, 2017
Utah senator Orrin Hatch had a very strong statement:
Their tiki torches may be fueled by citronella but their ideas are fueled by hate, & have no place in civil society. https://t.co/himqTMBQnH
— Senator Hatch Office (@senorrinhatch) August 12, 2017
While the Virginia Republican Party has not issued a response at this time, a local chapter put out this statement:
— PWCGOP (@PWCGOP) August 12, 2017
Ed Gillespie weighs in pic.twitter.com/J76GomITv7
— Sam Stein (@samstein) August 12, 2017
That embrace of such fringe thinking, coupled with the utter lack of response, many hours into the conflict, is a silence that truly speaks volumes.
UPDATE: Trump finally issued a response — on Twitter, of course — to the horrific violence, offering a nonsensical, formulaic tweet, complete with punctuation errors:
We ALL must be united & condemn all that hate stands for. There is no place for this kind of violence in America. Lets come together as one!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 12, 2017
If “there is no place” for white supremacist hatred “in America,” perhaps Trump could start the process of condemning it by cleaning his own house.