White House pushes back against criticism of Trump’s Charlottesville response

After coming under fire from all sides of the political spectrum for his response to the violence in Charlottesville, Va., the White House said on Sunday that President Trump “condemns all forms of violence” — including hate groups.

“The president said very strongly in his statement yesterday that he condemns all forms of violence, bigotry, and hatred,” read the statement issued by an unnamed White House spokesperson. “Of course that includes white supremacists, KKK neo-Nazi and all extremist groups. He called for national unity and bringing all Americans together.”

Violence erupted during a rally protesting the removal of a Confederate statue in Charlottesville on Saturday. A 32-year-old woman was killed and 19 other people were injured when a car rammed into a group of counterprotesters. Two Virginia state troopers were also killed when their police helicopter crashed nearby.

Slideshow: Violent clashes erupt at ‘Unite the Right’ rally in Charlottesville, Va. >>>

A vehicle drives into a group of protesters demonstrating against a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va., on Aug. 12, 2017. (Ryan M. Kelly/The Daily Progress via AP)

Slideshow: Mourning and acts of solidarity for the victims of the Charlottesville attack at a white nationalist rally >>>

Trump responded to the incidents during a previously-scheduled press event at his golf club in New Jersey Saturday afternoon, saying “many sides” were to blame. The president later tweetedcondolences” to the families of the victims. But lawmakers on both sides of the aisle blasted Trump for not explicitly condemning the white supremacists involved.

“We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence, on many sides,” the president said on Saturday. “On many sides. 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. It has no place in America.”

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