White Nationalists Hold Racist, Anti-Semitic, And Violent Rally To Protest Tearing Down Statue Of Robert E. Lee; After Injuries And One Death, Trump Claims “Blame On Both Sides” Between neo-Nazis and Rally Protestors
A “Unite the Right” rally on August 12, 2017 in Charlottesville Virginia was planned to protest the removal of a confederate general’s statue in that city.
“White nationalists had long planned a demonstration over the city’s decision to remove a statue of Robert E. Lee. But the rally quickly exploded into racial taunting, shoving and outright brawling, prompting the governor to declare a state of emergency and the National Guard to join the police in clearing the area.”
The rally attracted a variety of white nationalist groups, including the Ku Klux Klan and neo-Nazis.
“Many of these groups have felt emboldened since the election of Donald J. Trump as president. Mr. Duke, a former imperial wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, told reporters on Saturday that the protesters were ‘going to fulfil the promises of Donald Trump’ to ‘take our country back.'”
Those participating in the rally chanted white nationalist slogans such as “blood and soil,” “white lives matter” and “you will not replace us.”
The rally eventually ended after a man aligned with the Unite the Right rally drove into a crowd of rally protesters, injuring 19 people and killing one woman.
Two days later during a televised statement, Trump discussed the economy and several other issues before shifting towards criticism of the rally, saying “we condemn in the strongest possible terms, this egregious display of hatred, bigotry, and violence [in Charlottesville]; it has no place in America.” Trump also called the hate groups participating in the rally “repugnant to everything we hold dear in America.”
At a press conference related to the streamlining of the approval process for infrastructure projects, President Trump took questions from the media which quickly focused on the Unite the Right Rally. While answering questions, Trump changed his stance and said that there is another group partially to blame for the violence and that it wasn’t just the fault of the neo-Nazis: the “alt-left”, is also responsible for “swinging clubs”. He also noted that there was “blame on both sides”, and “you had some very bad people in that group [neo-Nazis], but you also had people that were very fine people, on both sides.”