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Republican lawmakers criticize Trump response to Charlottesville

The Hill logo The Hill 6 days ago Julia Manchester
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Republican lawmakers went after President Trump on Saturday over his statement on violent clashes in Charlottesville, Va., with one senator going as far as saying Trump needed to call it a "terror attack by white supremacists."

"Mr. President - we must call evil by its name. These were white supremacists and this was domestic terrorism," Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) tweeted.

Gardner was joined by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) in directly calling out Trump.

"Very important for the nation to hear [President Trump] describe events in Charlottesville for what they are, a terror attack by white supremacists," Rubio said on Twitter.

The Senate's second-highest ranking Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch said not calling out neo-Nazis out was personal for him, recalling his brother's death in World War II.

"We should call evil by its name. My brother didn't give his life fighting Hitler for Nazi ideas to go unchallenged here at home," Hatch tweeted.

Trump condemned the "egregious," racially-charged clashes in Charlottesville, Va. on Saturday, but avoided putting more blame on any particular group, instead saying hatred by "many sides" were to blame.

Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) took to the social media platform to say white nationalists were taking part in homegrown terrorism.

"What 'White Nationalists' are doing in Charlottesville is homegrown terrorism that can't be tolerated anymore that what any extremist does," Grassley said.

Sens. Jeff Flake (Ariz.) and Tim Scott (S.C.) also chimed in.

White nationalist, white supremacist and alt-right groups were initially scheduled to gather in Charlottesville's Emancipation Park Saturday to protest the city's decision to remove a Confederate statue there.

But as clashes broke out ahead of the so-called "Unite the Right" rally Saturday morning, police declared the gathering an unlawful assembly, breaking up the event before it officially began.

It was confirmed Saturday afternoon that one person had been killed and more than a dozen others injured after a car plowed into a crowd of people protesting white nationalist and Nazi groups marching in Charlottesville, Va.

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