BEDMINISTER, N.J. (AP) — President Donald Trump said Saturday there was “no place” in the United States for the kind of violence that broke out at a white nationalist rally in Virginia and appealed to Americans to “come together as one.”
Disturbances that began Friday night during a march through the University of Virginia escalated Saturday with clashes between white nationalists and counter-protesters, leading the governor to declare a state of emergency and police to order people to disperse.
Trump, while on a working vacation at his New Jersey golf club, tweeted: “”We ALL must be united & condemn all that hate stands for.” He also said “there is no place for this kind of violence in America. Lets come together as one!”
The White House was silent for hours except for a tweet from first lady Melania Trump: “Our country encourages freedom of speech, but let’s communicate w/o hate in our hearts.”
The president was expected to address the situation later Saturday during a bill signing ceremony.
Charlottesville’s mayor, Michael Signer, blamed Trump for inflaming racial prejudices with his campaign last year.
“I’m not going to make any bones about it. I place the blame for a lot of what you’re seeing in American today right at the doorstep of the White House and the people around the president.”
House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., took to Twitter to denounce the scene.
“The views fueling the spectacle in Charlottesville are repugnant. Let it only serve to unite Americans against this kind of vile bigotry,” he said.
of the white nationalists cited Trump’s victory as validation for their beliefs.