On Monday, August 14, 2017, President Trump met with Attorney General Sessions and FBI Director Wray to discuss the mass violence that broke out in Charlottesville this weekend after thousands of KKK and white supremacist-inspired marchers staged a “Unite the Right” rally leaving one woman dead and dozens injured. Following that meeting, Trump addressed the nation in a statement condemning the groups that exacted violence acts against counter-protesters. This statement came days after Trump’s incredibly unpresidential statement condeming the “egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence, on many sides.”
As a result of his original statement, Trump faced wide-ranging criticism from both parties for not forcefully denouncing the neo-Nazis and Klan sympathizers who rampaged in Charlottesville. At a time when the nation looked to the President to untie, he further divided and, in the process, victim blammed.
Today, bowing to pressure from every corner of the political spectrum, the Presidnet gave a stament that was two days late and a dollar short.
It should not take two days and a national tragedy for the president to take action and disavow white supremacists. When it comes to the safety and the security of our communities, too many of which now feel targeted by hate-fueled protestors, two days is too late.
Despite his statement today, President Trump has pursued the advancement of policies that promote the marginalization of minority communities which emboldens the very white nationalists who descended on Charlottesville this weekend. And he continues to seek the counsel of Steve Bannon, who once bragged that the Trump administration is ‘the platform for the alt-right.’ It is no wonder that former Ku Klux Klan president David Duke said this weekend’s rally was to ‘fulfill the promises of Donald Trump.
Our country is stronger when people of all backgrounds are welcome in their own communities and treated with respect and dignity. As one of the oldest and largest racial justice organizations in our country, the Lawyers’ Committee understands the human devastation discrimination brings, and the urgency of acting now to combat discrimination and hate. We will continue to press the U.S. Department of Justice to fully investigate the individuals and hate organizations tied to this weekend’s Charlottesville rally and expect Attorney General Jeff Sessions to aggressively pursue any and all federal civil rights charges or domestic terrorism charges that may be warranted.
The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, a Communities Against Hate partner, leads the Stop Hate Project. The Stop Hate Project works to strengthen the capacity of community leaders, local government, law enforcement, and organizations around the country to combat hate by connecting these groups with legal and social services resources and creating new ones in response to identified needs.