Hawaii’s Congressional delegation is speaking out following President Donald Trump’s latest remarks on deadly violence in Charlottesville, Va.
Combative and insistent, Trump declared anew Tuesday “there is blame on both sides” for the deadly violence last weekend when a loosely connected mix of white nationalists, neo-Nazis and other far-right extremists assembled to protest the city’s decision to remove a towering statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.
Heather Heyer, 32, was killed when a man plowed his car into a crowd of counter-protesters. Two Virginia state troopers also died in a helicopter accident.
“What about the alt-left that came charging at, as you say the alt-right? Do they have any semblance of guilt?” Trump said. “Let me ask you this. What about the fact that they came charging with clubs in their hands, swinging clubs. Do they have any problem? I think they do.
“As far as I’m concerned, that was a horrible, horrible day. Wait a minute, I’m not finished. I’m not finished, fake news. That was a horrible day. I will tell you something,” Trump continued. “I watched this very closely, much more closely than you people watched it, and you had a group on one side that was bad, and you had a group on the other side that was also very violent. And nobody wants to say that, but I’ll say it right now. You had a group on the other side that came charging in without a permit, and they were very, very violent.
“I think there’s blame on both sides and I have no doubt about it, and you don’t have any doubt about it either.
“You had some very bad people in that group, but you also had people that were very fine people on both sides, but you had many people in that group other than neo-nazis and white nationalists, okay? And the press has treated them absolutely unfairly.
“You had a lot of people in that group that were there to innocently protest, and very legally protest, because you know, I don’t know if you know, they had a permit. The other group didn’t have a permit. So I only tell you this. There are two sides to a story. I thought what took place was a horrible moment for our country, a horrible moment, but there are two sides to the country.”
The blowback was swift, including from fellow Republicans. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida said Trump should not allow white supremacists “to share only part of the blame.” House Speaker Paul Ryan declared in a tweet that “white supremacy is repulsive” and there should be “no moral ambiguity,” though he did not specifically address the president.
Members of Hawaii’s Congressional delegation also took to Twitter to address Trump’s remarks.
Meanwhile, Gov. David Ige released the following statement:
“The president has abandoned any pretense of standing up for American values or the moral authority that defines the United States.
“The racism and bigotry that he defended today goes against every value that makes me proud to be an American citizen and governor of the State of Hawaii – the place that President John F. Kennedy once said represents all that we are, and all that we hope to be.”