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Trump blows up damage control as he blames ‘both sides’ for Charlottesville

NEW YORK — It took President Donald Trump two days to explicitly call out the white supremacists and neo-Nazis who engaged in violent protests over the weekend that resulted in the death of a 32-year-old Charlottesville woman.

It took him less than 24 hours to undo the damage control that had been foisted upon him by teleprompter-wielding, crisis-managing aides.

Bridling at the term “alt-right,” Trump attempted to redirect blame for the violence at the rally onto the other side.

“What about the alt-left that came charging at the, as you say, the alt right? Do they have any semblance of guilt?” he said at an unplanned news conference in the lobby of Trump Tower, referring to the “alt-right” protesters who gathered to protest the removal of a Robert E. Lee statue from a park.

Trump also said he has yet to speak to the family of the woman killed, Heather Heyer, but promised that he would be “reaching out” and applauded her mother’s “beautiful statement,” in which she praised Trump.

With no teleprompter to keep him on a message crafted for him by his top aides, like chief of staff John Kelly, Trump reverted to the “many sides” language he ad-libbed on Saturday — remarks that earned him criticism from Republicans and Democrats alike, and even pushback from his own top aides.

“You had a group on one side and you had a group on the other,” Trump explained Tuesday, “and they came at each other with clubs and it was vicious and it was horrible, and it was a horrible thing to watch.”

He added: “I think there’s blame on both sides.”

The free-wheeling remarks represented an about-face for the president, who after two days relented to pressure from his administration to read the statement that included the words “racism is evil,” while calling out specific types of hate groups, including the Ku Klux Klan and neo-Nazis.

In his only appearance in front of the press on Tuesday, Trump was originally scheduled to make a short announcement on infrastructure from the lobby of his Manhattan home. He came equipped with charts to show how his administration was cutting the regulatory red tape to make building roads less onerous. Reporters were warned he would take no questions, and that two of his top aides, economic adviser Gary Cohn and Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, would take questions after the president departed.

But Trump overruled his staff.

Kelly stood off to the side while Trump spoke, staring down at the marble floor as the president doubled down on his widely criticized “many sides” rhetoric. Kelly’s stiff body language appeared to reflect the feeling among many Trump aides.

“My head is spinning,” texted one White House aide watching the president unleash himself on television.

When asked whether he and other officials supported the president’s views on the protest, Cohn hedged. “We share the president’s view that infrastructure is really important to America, and our infrastructure is crumbling,” he said.

Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump, the two family members who serve in Trump’s administration, were absent from Trump Tower on Tuesday — they were on a two-day, pre-scheduled trip to Vermont, a White House official said, and were planning to rejoin the president at his Bedminster, N.J. golf club on Thursday.

Trump’s charged statements on Tuesday inflamed the controversy his aides had just started to contain.

After Trump’s original ad-libbed comments on Saturday, his communications staff went into immediate crisis control, according to a White House official. An anonymous press statement was released, stating that the president “condemns all forms of violence, bigotry and hatred. Of course that includes white supremacists, KKK, neo-Nazi and all extremist groups.”

The statement was put out with no name on it because press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was on a brief vacation in Bermuda, the official said. The statement was written by another more junior press aide, Jessica Ditto, and the hope was that it would gird against the backlash to the president’s own words.

But by Sunday night it was clear that a statement from a nameless aide was doing little to staunch the outrage, and that only the president could clean up his own mess.

While the revised statement on Monday eased some of the outcry, Trump was quickly hit by a fresh backlash — including from prominent Republicans — after his Trump Tower news conference.

“We must be clear,” House Speaker Paul Ryan tweeted on Tuesday afternoon. “White supremacy is repulsive. This bigotry is counter to all this country stands for. There can be no moral ambiguity.”

Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida said the white supremacist rally organizers are “100% to blame” and that it’s dangerous to put some of the responsibility on the counter-protesters.

“The #WhiteSupremacy groups will see being assigned only 50% of blame as a win.We can not allow this old evil to be resurrected,” Rubio tweeted.

In his remarks on Tuesday, Trump cast himself as a cautious, fact-focused president, insisting that despite a long history of celebrating vicious attacks and reveling in conspiracy theories, he was simply reserving judgment until the full story unfolded.

“Before I make a statement, I need the facts,” he explained. “So I don’t wanna rush into a statement. So making the statement when I made it was excellent.”

Trump described the “alt-left” as a “very, very violent” group that charged at protesters without a permit to even assemble in Charlottesville. He reiterated that he condemned hate groups but argued that not everyone was a white supremacist or neo-Nazi.

“Many of those people were there to protest the taking down of the statue of Robert E. Lee,” Trump said. “So this week it’s Robert E. Lee. I notice that Stonewall Jackson’s coming down. I wonder: Is it George Washington next week, and is it Thomas Jefferson the week after? You know, you really do have to ask yourself, ‘Where does it stop?’”

Trump, who appeared to relish his time battling with the press, even used the opportunity to promote one of his properties, a winery in Charlottesville.

“Does anyone know I own a house in Charlottesville?” he said, pausing to continue bantering with reporters as he walked out of the lobby. “I own actually one of the largest wineries in the United States in Charlottesville.”

Trump claimed that he did not know that David Duke, a former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard, attended the rally. But Duke further inflamed the situation when he thanked Trump on Tuesday afternoon, via Twitter, for his “honesty & courage to tell the truth about” Charlottesville and “condemn the leftist terrorists” in Black Lives Matter and anti-fascists.

Trump’s show on Tuesday also lent new skepticism to the idea that Kelly, a retired United States Marine Corps general who has been trying to instill new order in the West Wing, would be able to affect any real change on a president like Trump.

At a press conference in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where Vice President Mike Pence was speaking shortly before Trump’s new comments on Charlottesville, his No. 2 praised the man at the top for his forthrightness.

“We have an American President who says what he means, and means what he says,” Pence said.

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Full text: Trump’s comments on white supremacists, ‘alt-left’ in Charlottesville

The following is a transcript of President Donald Trump’s remarks at a news conference on infrastructure at Trump Tower on Aug. 15 and the Q&A with the media that followed.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Hello, everybody. Great to be back in New York with all of our friends and some great friends outside the building, I must tell you. I want to thank all of our distinguished guests who are with us today, including the members of our cabinet: Treasury secretary Stephen Mnuchin and OMB Director Mick Mulvaney and the Transportation Secretary who is doing a fabulous job, Elaine Chao. Thank you all for doing a really incredible and creative job on what we’re going to be discussing today, which is infrastructure. We’ve just had a great set of briefings upstairs on our infrastructure agenda. My administration is working every day to deliver the world class infrastructure that our people deserve and frankly our country deserves. That’s why I just signed a new Executive Order to dramatically reform the nation’s badly broken infrastructure permitting process.

Just blocks away is the Empire State Building. It took 11 months to build the Empire State Building. But today it can take as long as a decade and much more than that. Many, many stories where it takes 20 and 25 years just to get approvals to start construction of a fairly routine highway. Highway builders must get up to 16 different approvals involving nine different federal agencies governed by 29 different statutes. One agency alone can stall a project for many, many years and even decades. Not only does this cost our economy billions of dollars, but it also denies our citizens the safe and modern infrastructure they deserve. This overregulated permitting process is a massive, self-inflicted wound on our country.

It’s disgraceful. Denying our people much needed investments in their community, and I just want to show you this, because it was just shown to me. I think I’m going to show it to the media – both real and fake media by the way. This is what it takes to get something approved today. Elaine, you see that? So this is what it takes, permitting process flow chart. That’s a flow chart. So that can go out to about 20 years, this shows about ten. But that can go out to about 20 years to get something approved. This is for a highway. I have seen a highway recently in a certain state – I won’t mention it’s name, it is 17 years. I could have built it for $4 million, $5 million without the permitting process. It costs hundreds of millions of dollars, but it took 17 years to get it approved and many, many, many, many pages of environmental impact studies. This is what we will bring it down to. This is less than two years. This is going to happen quickly, that’s what I’m signing today. This will be less than two years for a highway, so it’s going to be quick, it’s going to be a very streamlined process, and by the way, if it doesn’t meet environmental safeguards, we are not going to approve it – very simple. We’re not going to approve it. So this is – maybe this one will say, let’s throw the other one away. Would anybody like it from the media? Would anybody like that long, beautiful chart, you can have it.

So my Executive Order also requires agencies to work together efficiently by requiring one lead agency for each major infrastructure project. It also holds agencies accountable if they fail to streamline their review process, so each agency is accountable. We’re going to get infrastructure built quickly, inexpensively, relatively speaking and the permitting process will go very, very quickly. No longer will we tolerate one job killing delay after another. No longer will we accept a broken system that benefits consultants and lobbyists at the expense of hard working Americans. Now, I knew the process very well – probably better than anybody. I had to get permits for this building and many of the buildings I built. All of the buildings I built in Manhattan and many other places, and I will tell you that the consultants are rich people. They go around making it very difficult. They lobby congress, they lobby state government, city governments to make it very difficult so that you have to hire consultants and that you have to take years and pay them a fortune, so we’re streamlining the process, and we won’t be having so much of that anymore. No longer will we allow the infrastructure of our magnificent country to crumble and decay, while protecting the environment we will build gleaming new roads, bridges, railways, waterways, tunnels and highways.

We will rebuild our country with American workers, American iron, American aluminum, American steel. We will create millions of new jobs and make millions of American dreams come true. Our infrastructure will again be the best in the world. We used to have the greatest infrastructure anywhere in the world, and today, we are like a third-world country. We are literally like a third-world country. Our infrastructure will again be the best, and we will restore the pride in our communities, our nation. And all over the United States, we will be proud again, so I want to thank everybody for being here. God bless you, God bless the United States. If you have any questions, Mick, you could come up here, please. Come on up. Mick Mulvaney. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask.

REPORTER: Why are the CEOs leaving your manufacturing council?

TRUMP: Because they are not taking their job seriously as it pertains to this country. We want jobs, manufacturing in this country. If you look at some of those people that you are talking about, they are outside of the country. They are having a lot of their product made outside. If you look at Merck as an example, take a look where – excuse me, excuse me – take a look at where their product is made. It is made outside of our country. We want products made in the country, now I have to tell you, some of the folks that will leave, they’re leaving out of embarrassment, because they made their products outside, and I have been lecturing them, including the gentleman that you are referring to, about you have to bring it back to this country. You can’t do it necessarily in Ireland and all of these other places. You have to bring this work back to this country. That’s what I want. I want manufacturing to be back into the United States so that American workers can benefit.

REPORTER: Why did you wait so long to denounce neo-Nazis?

TRUMP: I didn’t wait long. I didn’t wait long. I didn’t wait long. I wanted to make sure, unlike most politicians, that what I said was correct, not make a quick statement. The statement I made on Saturday, the first statement, was a fine statement, but you don’t make statements that direct unless you know the fact. And it takes a little while to get the facts. You still don’t know the facts. And it is a very, very important process to me. It is a very important statement. So I don’t want to go quickly and just make a statement for the sake of making a political statement. I want to know the facts. If you go back to my statement, in fact I brought it. I brought it.

As I said on remember this, Saturday, we condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence. It has no place in America. And then I went on from there. Now here is the thing. Excuse me, excuse me. Take it nice and easy. Here is the thing, when I make a statement, I like to be correct. I want the facts. This event just happened. A lot of the event didn’t happen yet as we were speaking. This event just happened. Before I make a statement, I need the facts, so I don’t want to rush into a statement. So making the statement when I made it was excellent. In fact, the young woman who I hear is a fantastic young woman and it was on NBC, her mother wrote me and said through I guess Twitter, social media, the nicest things, and I very much appreciated that. I hear she was a fine, really actually an incredible young woman, but her mother on Twitter, thanked me for what I said. Honestly, if the press were not fake and if it was honest, the press would have said what I said was very nice. – excuse me – unlike you and unlike the media, before I make a statement, I like to know the facts.


TRUMP: They didn’t, they didn’t. They don’t.


TRUMP: How about, how about, how about a couple of infrastructure questions.

REPORTER: Was that terrorism?

TRUMP: Say it, what?

REPORTER: The CEO of Walmart said you missed a critical opportunity to help bring the country together. Did you?

TRUMP: Not at all. I think the country — look, you take a look. I’ve created over a million jobs since I have been president. The country is booming, the stock market is setting record, we have the highest employment numbers we’ve ever had in the history of our country. We are doing record business. We have the highest levels of enthusiasm, so the head of Walmart, who I know, who’s a very nice guy, was making a political statement. I mean, I would do it the same way, you know why? Because I want to make sure when I make a statement that the statement is correct. And there was no way – no way – of making a correct statement that early. I had to see the facts, unlike a lot of reporters, unlike a lot of reporter.

I didn’t know David Duke was there. I wanted to see the facts. And the facts, as they started coming out, were very well-stated. In fact, everybody said his statement was beautiful. If he would have made it sooner, that would have been good. I couldn’t have made it sooner, because I didn’t know all of the facts. Frankly, people still don’t know all of the facts. It was very important – excuse me, excuse me. It was very important to me to get the facts out and correctly. Because if I would have made a fast statement and the first statement was made without knowing much other than what we were seeing. The second statement was made after it with knowledge, with great knowledge. There are still things – excuse me. There are still things that people don’t know. I want to make a statement with knowledge, I wanted to know the facts, okay.

REPORTER: Two questions: was this terrorism? And can you tell us how you are feeling about your Chief Strategist Steve Bannon?

TRUMP: I think the driver of the car is a disgrace to himself, his family and this country. And that is – you can call it terrorism, you can call it murder. You can call it whatever you want. I would just call it as the fastest one to come up with a good verdict. That’s what I’d call it. And there is a question. Is it murder? Is it terrorism? Then you get into legal semantics. The driver of the car is a murderer, and what he did was a horrible, horrible, inexcusable thing.

REPORTER: Can you tell us how you are feeling about your chief strategist, Mr. Bannon? Can you talk about that?

REPORTER: Steve Bannon —

TRUMP: I never spoke to Mr. Bannon about it.

REPORTER: Can you tell us broadly about – do you still have confidence in Steve?

TRUMP: Well, we’ll see. And look, look, I like Mr. Bannon. He is a friend of mine, but Mr. Bannon came on very late. You know that. I went through 17 senators, governors and I won all the primaries. Mr. Bannon came on very much later than that, and I like him. He is a good man. He is not a racist – I can tell you that. He is a good person, he actually gets very unfair press in that regard. We’ll see what happens with Mr. Bannon. He’s a good person, and I think the press treats him frankly very unfairly.

REPORTER: They have called on you to defend your national security adviser H.R. McMaster against these attacks.

TRUMP: I did that before. Senator McCain? Senator McCain. You mean the one that voted against Obamacare? Who is Senator McCain? You mean senator McCain who voted against us getting good health care?

REPORTER: Senator McCain said that the alt-right is behind these attacks, and he linked that same group to those that perpetrated the attack in Charlottesville.

TRUMP: Well, I don’t know. I can’t tell you. I’m sure Senator McCain must know what he is talking about, but when you say the alt-right, define alt-right to me. You define it. Go ahead. Define it for me, come on, let’s go.

REPORTER: Senator McCain defined them as the same group.

TRUMP: Okay, what about the alt-left that came charging at [indiscernible] – excuse me – what about the alt-left that came charging at the, as you say, the alt right? Do they have any semblance of guilt?


TRUMP: What about this? What about the fact that they came charging – they came charging with clubs in their hands swinging clubs? Do they have any problem? I think they do.


TRUMP: As far as I’m concerned, that was a horrible, horrible day. Wait a minute, I’m not finished. I’m not finished, fake news. That was a horrible day.


TRUMP: I will tell you something. I watched those very closely, much more closely than you people watched it. And you had, you had a group on one side that was bad. And you had a group on the other side that was also very violent. And nobody wants to say that, but I’ll say it right now. You had a group – you had a group on the other side that came charging in without a permit, and they were very, very violent.

REPORTER: Do you think what you call the alt left is the same as neo-Nazis?

TRUMP: Those people – all of those people, excuse me – I’ve condemned neo-Nazis. I’ve condemned many different groups, but not all of those people were neo-Nazis, believe me. Not all of those people were white supremacists by any stretch.

REPORTER: Well, white nationalists –

TRUMP: Those people were also there, because they wanted to protest the taking down of a statue Robert E. Lee. So – excuse me – and you take a look at some of the groups and you see, and you’d know it if you were honest reporters, which in many cases you’re not. Many of those people were there to protest the taking down of the statue of Robert E. Lee. So this week, it’s Robert E. Lee, I noticed that Stonewall Jackson’s coming down. I wonder, is it George Washington next week? And is it Thomas Jefferson the week after. You know, you really do have to ask yourself, where does it stop?


TRUMP: But, they were there to protest – excuse me – you take a look the night before, they were there to protest the taking down of the statue of Robert E. Lee. Infrastructure question. Go ahead.

REPORTER: Does the statue of Robert E. Lee stay up?

TRUMP: I would say that’s up to a local town, community or the federal government, depending on where it is located.

REPORTER: Are you against the Confederacy?

REPORTER: On race relations in America, do you think things have gotten worse or better since you took office with regard to race relationships?

TRUMP: I think they’ve gotten better or the same – look – they have been frayed for a long time, and you can ask President Obama about that, because he’d make speeches about it. I believe that the fact that I brought in, it will be soon, millions of jobs, you see where companies are moving back into our country. I think that’s going to have a tremendous positive impact on race relations. We have companies coming back into our country. We have two car companies that just announced. We have Foxconn in Wisconsin just announced. We have many companies, I’d say, pouring back into the country. I think that’s going to have a huge, positive impact on race relations. You know why? It is jobs. What people want now, they want jobs. They want great jobs with good pay. And when they have that, you watch how race relations will be. And I’ll tell you, we’re spending a lot of money on the inner cities – we are fixing the inner cities – we are doing far more than anybody has done with respect to the inner cities. It is a priority for me, and it’s very important.

REPORTER: Mr. President, are you putting what you’re calling the alt-left and white supremacists on the same moral plane?

TRUMP: I am not putting anybody on a moral plane, what I’m saying is this: you had a group on one side and a group on the other, and they came at each other with clubs and it was vicious and horrible and it was a horrible thing to watch, but there is another side. There was a group on this side, you can call them the left. You’ve just called them the left, that came violently attacking the other group. So you can say what you want, but that’s the way it is.

REPORTER: You said there was hatred and violence on both sides?

TRUMP: I do think there is blame – yes, I think there is blame on both sides. You look at, you look at both sides. I think there’s blame on both sides, and I have no doubt about it, and you don’t have any doubt about it either. And, and, and, and if you reported it accurately, you would say.

REPORTER: The neo-Nazis started this thing. They showed up in Charlottesville.

TRUMP: Excuse me, they didn’t put themselves down as neo-Nazis, and you had some very bad people in that group. But you also had people that were very fine people on both sides. You had people in that group – excuse me, excuse me. I saw the same pictures as you did. You had people in that group that were there to protest the taking down, of to them, a very, very important statue and the renaming of a park from Robert E. Lee to another name.

REPORTER: George Washington and Robert E. Lee are not the same.

TRUMP: Oh no, George Washington was a slave owner. Was George Washington a slave owner? So will George Washington now lose his status? Are we going to take down – excuse me. Are we going to take down, are we going to take down statues to George Washington? How about Thomas Jefferson? What do you think of Thomas Jefferson? You like him? Okay, good. Are we going to take down his statue? He was a major slave owner. Are we going to take down his statue? You know what? It’s fine, you’re changing history, you’re changing culture, and you had people – and I’m not talking about the neo-Nazis and the white nationalists, because they should be condemned totally – but you had many people in that group other than neo-Nazis and white nationalists, okay? And the press has treated them absolutely unfairly. Now, in the other group also, you had some fine people, but you also had troublemakers and you see them come with the black outfits and with the helmets and with the baseball bats – you had a lot of bad people in the other group too.

REPORTER: I just didn’t understand what you were saying. You were saying the press has treated white nationalists unfairly?

TRUMP: No, no. There were people in that rally, and I looked the night before. If you look, they were people protesting very quietly, the taking down the statue of Robert E. Lee. I’m sure in that group there were some bad ones. The following day, it looked like they had some rough, bad people, neo-Nazis, white nationalists, whatever you want to call ‘em. But you had a lot of people in that group that were there to innocently protest and very legally protest, because you know, I don’t know if you know, but they had a permit. The other group didn’t have a permit. So I only tell you this: there are two sides to a story. I thought what took place was a horrible moment for our country, a horrible moment. But there are two sides to the country. Does anybody have a final – does anybody have a final question? You have an infrastructure question.

REPORTER: What makes you think you can get an infrastructure bill? You didn’t get healthcare, you didn’t get tax –

TRUMP: Well, let me tell you. We came very close with health care. Unfortunately, John McCain decided to vote against it at the last minute. You’ll have to ask him why he did that. We came very close to health care. We will end up getting health care. But we’ll get the infrastructure, and actually, infrastructure’s something I think we’ll have bipartisan support on. I actually think – I actually think Democrats will go along with the infrastructure.

REPORTER: Mr. President, have you spoken to the family of the victim of the car attack?

TRUMP: No. I will be reaching out, I’ll be reaching out.

REPORTER: When will you be reaching out?

TRUMP: I thought that the statement put out, the mother’s statement I thought was a beautiful statement. I’ll tell you – it was something that I really appreciated. I thought it was terrific. And really under the kind of stress that she’s under and the heartache she’s under, I thought putting out that statement to me was really something I won’t forget. Thank you all very much. Thank you.

REPORTER: Do you plan to go to Charlottesville, Mr. President?

TRUMP: Did you know I own a house? It’s in Charlottesville, oh boy. It’s in Charlottesville, you’ll see.

REPORTER: Is that the winery or something?

TRUMP: It’s a, it’s a, it is the winery.


TRUMP: I mean, I know a lot about Charlottesville. Charlottesville is a great place that’s been very badly hurt over the last couple of days. I own – I own actually one of the largest wineries in the United States. It’s in charlottesville.

REPORTER: What do you think needs to overcome the racial divides?

TRUMP: Well, I really think jobs are going to have a big impact. If we continue to create jobs – over a million – substantially more than a million, and you see just the other day, the car companies come in with Foxconn, I think if we continue to create jobs at levels that I’m creating jobs, I think that’s going to have a tremendous impact – positive impact – on race relations.

REPORTER: And what you said today, how do you think that will impact?

TRUMP: Because the people are going to be working and making a lot of money, much more than they ever thought possible. That’s going to happen. And the other thing, very important, I believe wages will start going up. They haven’t gone up for a long time. I believe wages now, because the economy is doing so well, with respect to employment and unemployment, I believe wages will start to go up. I think that’ll have a tremendously positive impact on race relations. Thank you.

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Confederate statues in U.S. Capitol likely going nowhere

Some of the most famous Confederate statues sit smack dab in the U.S. Capitol — and there are no plans to remove them.

The white supremacist rally in Charlottesville last weekend erupted over the removal of a monument to Robert E. Lee, leader of the Confederate army during the Civil War. Lee is among the 10 Confederates whose statues remain in the Capitol, lionizing a slaveholding era and sparking calls this week from some House Democrats to rid the building of their likenesses.

The Capitol’s Confederate statues are part of the National Statuary Hall Collection, created more than 150 years ago as a means to represent two citizens of each state under the dome. Even as multiple other cities follow Charlottesville in pursuing removal of their Confederate monuments, however, only a handful of Democrats have so far called for the statues’ replacement after the violent rally in the Virginia town left one woman dead and injured more than a dozen others.

President Donald Trump on Tuesday reignited the firestorm over his initial equivocal response to the deadly protest when he repeated that the “alt-left” deserves blame for the violence, too. Comparing Lee to the Founding Fathers of the nation that the general tried to secede from, Trump suggested that removing Confederate statues would lead Americans down a slippery slope.

“This week, it’s Robert E. Lee. I notice that Stonewall Jackson’s coming down,” Trump told reporters in New York, referring to a second Confederate general. “I wonder, is it George Washington next week and is it Thomas Jefferson the week after? You really do have to ask yourself, where does it stop?”

But the raging debate over Confederate monuments has yet to envelop the Capitol.

Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) on Tuesday did call for lawmakers in both parties “to work with me to ensure the permanent removal of all offensive and despicable Confederate imagery” from the Capitol. But other congressional Democrats have largely stayed out of the fray.

“Confederate memorabilia have no place in this country and especially not in the United States Capitol,” Thompson said in a statement. “These images symbolize a time of racial discrimination and segregation that continues to haunt this country and many African-Americans who still to this day face racism and bigotry.”

House Republicans blocked a vote in 2015 on Thompson’s resolution calling for the removal of Confederate flag imagery from the Capitol after a white supremacist killed nine parishioners at an African-American church in South Carolina. Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) broke from most of his conference last year to support an amendment that bars Confederate flags from Department of Veterans Affairs cemeteries, but neither of those proposals addressed the remaining statues.

Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-La.), chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, also called for a fresh look at taking the statues out of the Capitol.

“We will never solve America’s race problem if we continue to honor traitors who fought against the United States in order to keep African Americans in chains,” Richmond said in a Monday statement. “By the way, thank God, they lost.”

The remaining Confederate statues hail from nine states: Georgia, Florida, Alabama, West Virginia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia. State legislators are empowered to select replacements, which then must be approved by governors, though Congress could conceivably order the removal of the figures via legislation similar to Thompson’s.

A CBC spokeswoman said by email that the caucus is not currently planning any legislative measures, such as a new bill or letter, that would press for ridding the Capitol of the statues. Any such move would require buy-in from Republican leaders who have not previously supported such broad removal efforts, the spokeswoman added.

Ryan spokesman Doug Andres affirmed Tuesday that House GOP leaders would leave it up to individual states to decide whether to replace Confederate statues: “These are decisions for those states to make,” he said.

Joining the push for the elimination of Confederate imagery on Tuesday was Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), who tweeted that her state’s legislators “should call a special session to replace” the state’s statue of Edmund Kirby Smith, a Confederate general. Florida Republican Gov. Rick Scott already has signed a bill that would approve a replacement, but lawmakers are mired in a dispute over whom to select as a successor.

Besides Lee and Smith, the Capitol’s other slaveholder-era statues include Mississippian Jefferson Davis and Georgian Alexander Hamilton Stephens, the president and vice president of the Confederacy, respectively. Stephens opposed secession and counted Abraham Lincoln as a friend.

The Architect of the Capitol can help states select and approve replacement statues. Its role is in accordance with a bill passed 17 years ago that changed the collection’s original authorizing statute to help states choose new figures upon approval from the Joint Committee on the Library of Congress. Guidelines state that statues should depict a U.S. citizen “illustrious for historic renown or for distinguished civic or military services.”

Most offices of senators from the states whose Capitol statues represent Confederates did not return requests for comment by press time on whether they would push for removal. Sen. Thad Cochran’s (R-Miss.) spokesman said he believes the decision should rest with individual states, and Sen. Roger Wicker’s (R-Miss.) spokesman said the lawmaker would not issue a call for the removal of the state’s two statues, both of which depict Confederates.

Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) instigated a successful push for a state law that will ultimately replace the state’s Capitol statue of white supremacist Charles Aycock with a likeness of the Rev. Billy Graham. However, a spokeswoman said she had no additional information on any future push to phase out a second statue that depicts Confederate Zebulon Vance.

Beyond Charlottesville, efforts to take down Confederate statues are underway in Baltimore; Jacksonville, Florida; Lexington, Kentucky; and Memphis, Tennessee. Anti-white-supremacy counterprotesters in Durham, North Carolina, are facing potential criminal penalties for tearing down a Confederate statue in their city Monday, captured on film chanting “No KKK, No Fascist U.S.A.”

Hilary Shelton, director of the NAACP’s Washington bureau, noted in an interview that the negative effect of Confederate imagery goes beyond the statues themselves, but he encouraged a broader conversation about removing symbols of racism from public spaces.

“We strongly oppose these icons of the Confederacy, including the Dixie battle flag, buildings named after Confederate generals who were fighting to preserve slavery and anything else that glorifies the antebellum South,” Shelton said.

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Trump goes off script, and white supremacists cheer

For the white supremacists who have been roundly vilified since their rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, last weekend, Donald Trump’s news conference on Tuesday came as validation: The president used many of their talking points, condemning the left-wing groups that animate their rage and defending monuments to Confederate leaders who tried to protect slavery.

Democratic and Republican politicians quickly decried Trump’s impromptu question-and-answer session. But for the so-called alt-right, whose nationalistic and anti-immigrant views helped fuel Trump’s rise, Tuesday’s remarks served as encouragement at a perilous moment for the movement, after a white nationalist rammed his car into counterprotesters amid the demonstration, killing one and wounding more than a dozen.

“What about the alt-left that came charging at the, as you say, the alt-right? Do they have any semblance of guilt?” Trump said. “You can say what you want, but that’s the way it is.”

The gratitude from the fringes of the American right came quickly.

“Thank you President Trump for your honesty & courage to tell the truth about Charlottesville & condemn the leftist terrorists,” tweeted David Duke, a former Ku Klux Klan leader and outspoken Trump supporter who attended the Charlottesville protest.

The “Unite the Right” rally in the Virginia college town dissolved into chaos over the weekend as marchers — wielding Confederate and Nazi flags and bearing tiki torches and rifles as they denounced Charlottesville’s decision to remove a public statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee — clashed with counterprotesters, including some from Black Lives Matter and a group that goes by “antifa,” short for anti-fascist.

Trump issued a statement Saturday condemning the violence on “many sides” but did not specifically address the racist groups at the center of the events. (On Tuesday, he said he’d been waiting for more facts; he said he hadn’t known Duke was present, for example.)

On Monday, Trump gave brief prepared remarks in which he called out the KKK and neo-Nazis by name and declared racism “evil,” though white nationalists said they didn’t take the condemnation seriously.

But by Tuesday he was back to arguing that the white nationalists ought not bear all the blame.

“I think there is blame on both sides. You look at, you look at both sides. I think there’s blame on both sides,” Trump said.

He assailed the counterprotesters for not having a permit.

“You had a group on the other side that came charging in without a permit, and they were very, very violent,” he said.

And he said many of the people in Charlottesville weren’t hate-filled, just showing their opposition to the city council’s vote earlier this year to remove the statue. (The statue remains in place for now while the issue is tied up in court.)

“It looked like they had some rough, bad people, neo-Nazis, white nationalists, whatever you want to call ‘em,” Trump said. “But you had a lot of people in that group that were there to innocently protest and very legally protest.”

In fact, Trump argued, if statues of Confederate leaders like Lee — who led a rebellion against the United States — were removed, it might not be long before monuments to Presidents George Washington and Thomas Jefferson were also removed, since those men were slave-owners. That argument is a common talking point on the right, with Pat Buchanan recently making just that case on Newsmax, a right-wing website run by Trump’s friend Chris Ruddy.

“President Trump is right! One side had a permit to speak, one side charged with clubs & weapons! Look at the facts people,” tweeted Tim Gionet, a vocal alt-right activist who goes by “Baked Alaska” online.

On Breitbart, the nationalist website once run by senior Trump aide Steve Bannon (who called it a “platform” for the alt-right), the headline blared: “POTUS comes roaring back with press smackdown at Trump Tower.”

Richard Spencer, another outspoken white supremacist who supports Trump, also cheered on the address, calling it “fair and down to earth.”

“We came in peace,” he wrote later.

Mainstream Republicans, including former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former George W. Bush press secretary Ari Fleischer, have defended Trump’s “both sides” argument.

“The president has good reason to also blame, or point the finger, at antifa and BLM. They are not innocent groups,” Fleischer said in an interview Tuesday. “I’m a purist on this. I’m all for counterprotest, but you cannot resort to violence. … If anyone engages in violence, they deserve condemnation.”

“Clearly all sides got at it in Charlottesville on Saturday,” he said.

But he said he was troubled by Trump’s remark that there were “very fine people on both sides.”

“There are no very fine Nazis or Klan members, zero,” Fleischer said.

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Polls closed in Alabama special election

His name isn’t on the ballot, but President Donald Trump’s political clout is on the line in Tuesday’s special election for Senate in Alabama, where polls closed at 8 p.m. Eastern.

Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell have lined up behind Sen. Luther Strange, who was appointed to Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ old seat in February and is running in a crowded GOP primary to complete Sessions’ term. But despite the weighty endorsements, Strange is locked in fierce competition with other Republican hopefuls, including former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore, who has led most public surveys of the primary, and Rep. Mo Brooks, who has been running behind Strange in the fight for second place and has hammered the incumbent and McConnell.

If no candidate gets 50 percent of the vote, the top two will advance to a primary runoff on Sept. 26. That’s the expected outcome with 10 candidates dividing the vote, but Strange is leaning hard into Trump’s endorsement to try to make a show of strength in the first round and close in on Moore.

“I think the Trump endorsement is decisive because the election really boils down to who is best suited to help the president implement his agenda,” Strange told POLITICO on Monday. “It’s the agenda he campaigned on and that Alabama voted for. The fact that he has said that I have his support lets the voters know that I’m the person that’s qualified to do that.”

Trump recorded a robocall for Strange’s campaign urging Republicans to vote for him, and Senate Leadership Fund, the super PAC run by McConnell allies, highlighted Trump’s endorsement of Strange in a last-minute ad released Tuesday.

But the super PAC’s main focus has been on preventing Brooks, a firebrand member of the House Freedom Caucus and avowed critic of McConnell, from overtaking Strange and making the top-two primary runoff.

Brooks has not broken 20 percent of the vote in independent polling of the primary, but Strange has also been stuck in mid-to-high 20s in most polls, while Moore has gotten around one-third of the vote. Outspent and out-advertised, Brooks had tried to make waves with attention-seeking ads and statements attacking McConnell, defending Sessions during his recent tiff with Trump, and even highlighting his presence at the shooting that wounded House Majority Whip Steve Scalise and others this summer. (Scalise’s chief of staff criticized that ad.)

Meanwhile, Moore has built up a reliable base of conservative and religious supporters during two stints on the state Supreme Court, which both ended when he was removed for defying federal orders to remove a statue of the Ten Commandments from government grounds and to issue same-sex marriage licenses. His campaign was optimistic ahead of Tuesday that his committed supporters were most likely to turn out for the Senate primary.

“I don’t think the others have quite the mechanism that we have, so we expect to do better than the polls are showing,” said Bill Armistead, a former state Republican Party chairman now chairing Moore’s campaign. “We just don’t know how much better he can do, but we’re trying.”

It’s likely that turnout will be low, said Alabama Republican Party chairwoman Terry Lathan. That could spell trouble for Strange, Brooks or other candidates who draw support from suburban Republicans.

“I guess the question is ‘what message resonates with the voter’ and ‘what voter is motivated to go vote in the middle of August?’” said Lathan, who noted that some voters are on end-of-summer vacations.

Whoever wins the Republican primary will be heavily favored in conservative Alabama, but Democrats have been hoping to make a stronger-than-expected showing in the special election. Former U.S. Attorney Doug Jones has won big-name endorsements from former Vice President Joe Biden and Reps. John Lewis, Cedric Richmond and Terri Sewell, but he faces an obstacle in Robert F. Kennedy Jr., a largely unknown businessman who has a familiar political name, though he is not a member of the famous Kennedy family.

Lathan shrugged off the idea that any Democrat could win statewide in deep red Alabama.

“Look, if you’re going to sign your name up with Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi in the state of Alabama, I don’t care who you are, that’s a problem,” Lathan said.

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Market America Products Revolutionizes The Lifestyle Industry

Market America is a leading online e-commerce site established in 1992. It operates by the domain name which it purchased from Microsoft Company. Market America uses a multi-level marketing technique whereby it partners with major manufacturing firms. This enables it to avail as many products as possible. Market America products are also cheap because the platform can source for them directly.

The company partners with affiliated distributors. To get market America products these distributors registers, with the company and operate their affiliated stores. The categories of goods ranging from clothing, cleaning products, jewelry, dietary supplements, cosmetics, water purifiers and anti-aging products. The products are sold directly to the client through their domain.

The transitions lifestyle system, which features weight management program, has been applauded by many clients as very efficient and furthermore it is cheaper to use American market products in this category rather than the ordinally buy from brick and mortar supermarkets, as these products come with manuals and advisory packages. One can also get the service of an experienced nutritionist, an affiliate of the platform to guide them in achieving best results.

The company has been a leading direct seller of original products at affordable price. These products are acknowledged for their results in countering anti-aging. Buying market America original products come with numerous advantages such as discounts and cash backs on real purchases. Market America products are also delivered vat the doorstep. The company was ranked among the top 100 global direct selling company.

Meet Eli Gershkovitch the entrepreneur who believes, you grow to meet demand or demand shrinks to meet you

****UPDATE**** August 15, 2017. — Eli Gershkovitch has just released a new video interview where he explains in depth about his World Famous Craft Beer. The savory taste of Steamworks beer has everyone talking. See why!

You may think you are head on a particular path but along the way you destination changes. This is what happened to Eli Gershkovitch. He went to the university and graduated with a Bachelors in Law. But just before he could settle for the career routine, he decided to enroll himself for art classes in Grenoble. Eli Gershkovitch would also explore the beautiful scenes of the French Alps on weekend (MontrealGazette). All this would lead him to discover something that would make him reconsider practicing law.

Eli Gershkovitch pic

He visited a microbrewery on a side trip to Heidelberg, Germany which was his first. This was after he was exposed to Belgian beer which in his words he said: “it was an epiphany”. This was the first steps into a career he would come to fall in love with.



Eli Gershkovitch is the current CEO of Steamworks Group of Companies. He opened Steamworks Brew Pub in the year 1995 at his Gastown location, starting with only 184 seats with that number expanding to 754 seats today. On top of this, he opened up a shop at Waterfront station with a transcontinental restaurant before he converted it to Wetbar and a Rogue Kitchen. Eli could also be given credit for transforming the area into a hipster cool location.


In November 2013, he expanded his business by opening a full-scale 40,000 hectoliter capacity brewery off Boundary Road. This over shadows his 2,000 hectoliter brew pub output. On an annual basis, the facility will pump out up to 90,000 six packs of the Steamworks pale ale and Pilsner beer and 800 twelve packs of seasonal brews, such as Christmas Blitzen. With all this achieved after the first bottled version of the Steamworks beer.


He has now achieved the record altitude with revenue up 50% now that the brewery is working at full capacity. Steamworks has now become a global brand with selling territories in the U.S, Canada, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Hong Kong and Italy (


We can also not conclusively say Eli law degree has been wasted as he his former Vancouver practice included legal works on client liquor licenses. He became an expert in this area that he found a way for the rules to work on his behalf.

For more information on Eli Gershkovitch visit BeerMe


U.S. Money Reserve Honors Pearl Harbor Veterans


Last December marked the 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. In connection with this important day, three out of five remaining USS Arizona veterans were invited for a five-day trip to Washington D.C. During their trip they got to visit the Pentagon and had a tour of the White House, where they were greeted by President Trump.


During their stay, U.S. Money Reserve and U.S. Navy Memorial Foundation held a ceremony to honor the veterans and present them with commemorative 5 oz. Pearl Harbor Silver Coins. The coins were minted in limited quantities by U.S. Money Reserve to mark the 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. Every silver coin in the Pearl Harbor coin collection is plated in 99.9% silver with the 75th anniversary privy mark plated in 24K gold. The obverse side of each Pearl Harbor coin features an official portrait of Her Majesty Elizabeth II.


Out of the three remaining USS Arizona veterans only two, Donald Stratton and Lauren Bruner, could attend the ceremony. Ken Potts was awarded the Pearl Harbor Silver Coin at a later occasion. In addition to recognizing the services of the veterans, U.S. Money Reserve and U.S. Navy Memorial Foundation also presented one of the Pearl Harbor Silver Coins to Joe George, a crew member of USS Vestal.


George, who passed away in 1996, was responsible for saving the lives of Stratton, Bruner and Potts on the day of the attack on Pearl Harbor. He disobeyed direct orders and refused to cut the rope connected the two ships, throwing a weighted heaving line instead. This courageous act saved in total six lives that day. George’s daughter, Joe Ann Taylor, attended the ceremony and received the Silver Coin on behalf of her father. She expressed her gratitude for getting a token to remember her father by.


The heroic act of George was unknown to the public for almost 50 years, and therefore no official recognition was made before he passed away. Today, Stratton and Bruner, who are deeply grateful to George for saving their lives, push for an official recognition for George in the form of a posthumous award.


U.S. Money Reserve stated that they were honored to show their support for the brave men and women who serve their country and meet the survivors of USS Arizona and Joe Ann Taylor. To further commemorate those who bravely lost their lives fighting in Pearl Harbor, U.S. Money Reserve partnered with U.S. Navy Memorial Foundation to help fund a Lone Sailor Statue. It was proposed that the statute should be constructed with metal from the USS Arizona and to be raised at Pearl Harbor on October 13, 2017, the U.S. Navy’s official birthday.


About U.S. Money Reserve

Since its foundation in 2001, U.S. Money Reserve clients have been relying on the company’s unique expertise in coin research, numismatics, and finding the best products on the market. The company specializes in sale of proof and commemorative coins, and have become one of the world’s largest private distributors of U.S. and foreign government-issued gold, silver and platinum legal tender products. Today, U.S. Money Reserve is recognized by over 400,000 satisfied clients as a reputable, reliable, and trustworthy company.

Follow the U.S. Money Reserve on Instagram


Trump gives heartburn to American CEOs

It took three weeks for Merck CEO Kenneth Frazier to go from a “business genius” to a “ripoff” drug executive — at least in the eyes of President Donald Trump.

Frazier appeared at the White House on July 20 to celebrate a new jobs initiative, where the president hailed him as a “great, great business leader” and thanked Merck for investing in American jobs. But on Monday, the president blasted Frazier after the executive announced he was leaving a White House advisory council over Trump’s failure to condemn the hate groups that demonstrated in Charlottesville, Va.

“Now that Ken Frazier of Merck Pharma has resigned from President’s Manufacturing Council, he will have more time to LOWER RIPOFF DRUG PRICES!” Trump tweeted. “[Merck] Pharma is a leader in higher & higher drug prices while at the same time taking jobs out of the U.S. Bring jobs back & LOWER PRICES!” the president added on Monday night, doubling down on his assault.

Frazier’s decision and his subsequent tongue-lashing on Twitter illustrate the tricky balancing act for America’s CEOs: Avoid Trump and run the risk of being his target — or get close to this White House at your peril.

More than two dozen CEOs and other leaders were invited to serve on Trump’s councils, a somewhat symbolic role that gives business executives a chance to bend the ear of the president and potentially win favorable treatment. A number of those leaders, like General Electric’s Jeff Immelt, also served on similar advisory councils for former President Barack Obama.

Unlike Frazier, most business leaders have stayed quiet and appear to be remaining on the councils — even if their endorsements are tepid at best.

“GE has no tolerance for hate, bigotry or racism, and we strongly condemn the violent extremism in Charlottesville over the weekend,” a company spokesperson said Monday, but added, “With more than 100,000 employees in the United States, it is important for GE to participate in the discussion on how to drive growth and productivity in the U.S., therefore, Jeff Immelt will remain on the Presidential Committee on American Manufacturing.”

A spokesperson for Michael Dell, founder and CEO of Dell Technologies, offered a similar justification for his continued involvement. “There’s no change in Dell engaging with the Trump administration and governments around the world to share our perspective on policy issues that affect our company, customers and employees,” the spokesperson said.

Spokespersons for more than 10 other council members, including the CEOs of Johnson & Johnson, IBM and Under Armour, did not respond to requests for comment.

While a spokesperson for JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon declined to say whether the bank executive would stay on Trump’s council, he shared a statement Dimon co-authored for the Business Roundtable, a group he chairs.

“The CEOs of Business Roundtable will never accept such intolerance and hate” like the bigotry in Charlottesville, the statement read. “We will continue to build our companies around the principles of respect, trust and equal opportunity to all our employees.”

There’s considerable benefit to being in the White House’s good graces. Denise Morrison, CEO of Campbell Soup, serves on one of Trump’s councils, and the president and the White House have repeatedly celebrated the company. Andrew Liveris, the CEO of Dow Chemical who serves on one council, was granted a private meeting with EPA head Scott Pruitt about three weeks before the EPA rolled back an Obama administration ban on a Dow pesticide, although the 30-minute meeting was subsequently canceled in favor of a brief introduction. (Dow also donated about $1 million for Trump’s inauguration.)

Advocates say the councils are structured to give executives maximum privacy with the president, with no press in attendance and no formal readout of remarks.

“You have these people meeting in a back room, no idea what they’re talking about, what they’re saying or how they’re influencing the president,” said Walter Shaub, who served as the government’s ethics czar until last month. “That’s concerning, particularly given [Trump’s] conflicts of interest.”

But there’s also heightened risk as social protests over White House policies mount. Travis Kalanick, then-CEO of Uber, was pressured into leaving a Trump advisory council in February after the administration pushed its travel ban on immigration from Muslim-majority countries and hundreds of thousands of Uber users reportedly deleted their applications in protest. Some critics of Kalanick, who was ultimately forced out of Uber this summer, pointed to his “coziness” with Trump as one reason that he had to go.

Executives also have gotten less time with the president as the councils sputtered after other prominent CEOs defected — Elon Musk of Tesla and Bob Iger of Disney resigned their council positions across the spring — and scheduling conflicts forced postponements. While Trump had suggested that the councils could convene every two months or quarterly, one council hasn’t met since February and another hasn’t met since April.

Meanwhile, business leaders that engage with the White House continue to take heat for the president’s controversial remarks, and the pressures on those CEOs have been renewed in the wake of the Charlottesville riots. “Ken Frazier resigned because the President of the United States refused to condemn white supremacists,” Jon Favreau, the former Obama speechwriter, tweeted on Monday, with a link to a list of council members. “What are the rest of you waiting for?”

“The councils can provide a valuable tool for business leaders to raise issues … at the highest levels of the administration,” said Michael Steel of Hamilton Place Strategies, which has advised clients on working with the White House. But the CEOs are “also exposed to criticism based on political concerns — and that is a particularly acute concern given the unprecedented divisiveness and unpopularity of President Trump.”

Cleveland Clinic CEO Toby Cosgrove, who serves on one of Trump’s advisory councils, has seen both the benefits and frustrations of being in the same circles with the White House. The Ohio surgeon was interviewed by Trump to be the new president’s Veterans Affairs secretary — a role that Cosgrove declined. But in recent months, his hospital has faced repeated protests for its decision to hold a fundraiser at Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s resort in Florida. On Monday, a clinic spokesperson said it would continue to keep its event at the Trump resort — but clarified they “have not yet signed a contract for it.”

Nancy Cook, Annie Karni and Steven Overly contributed to this report.

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Trump attacks Merck CEO for quitting manufacturing council over Charlottesville

President Donald Trump on Monday attacked the CEO of Merck for resigning from the president’s manufacturing council over Trump’s response to violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, snarkily tweeting that Ken Frazier will now have more time to reduce drug costs.

Frazier, chairman and CEO of Merck, announced his withdrawal from the council earlier Monday in a tweet from the global health care company’s account.

“I am resigning from the President’s American Manufacturing Council,” Frazier said in a statement. “America’s leaders must honor our fundamental values by clearly rejecting expressions of hatred, bigotry and group supremacy, which run counter to the American ideal that all people are created equal. As CEO of Merck and as a matter of personal conscience, I feel a responsibility to take a stand against intolerance and extremism.”

Trump responded within the hour, addressing Frazier’s resignation while glossing over the root cause of his decision.

“Now that Ken Frazier of Merck Pharma has resigned from President’s Manufacturing Council,he will have more time to LOWER RIPOFF DRUG PRICES!” Trump wrote.

On Monday evening, Trump again dinged the drug company. “.@Merck Pharma is a leader in higher & higher drug prices while at the same time taking jobs out of the U.S. Bring jobs back & LOWER PRICES!” he tweeted.

The president failed to condemn the violent actions and protests of white supremacists in Charlottesville over the weekend. The group assembled to protest the removal of a statute of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee, and a suspect later drove a car into a crowd of peaceful counterprotesters. At least one person died, and more than two dozen others were injured during the clashes.

For his part, Trump said he condemned in “the strongest possible terms this degree of hatred, bigotry and violence, on many sides” and called for unity and condemnation of “all that hate stands for” in a tweet.

“There is no place for this kind of violence in America,” he added. “Lets come together as one!”

Under pressure, Trump on Monday delivered a more forceful statement, declaring that “racism is evil,” while calling out hate groups as “criminals and thugs.”

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