Charlottesville mayor largely blames Trump for white supremacist violence

The mayor of Charlottesville, Va., says President Trump bears responsibility for the violence that erupted during a white supremacist rally there Saturday.

“Look at the campaign he ran,” Charlottesville Mayor Michael Signer said in an interview with CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday. “I mean, look at the intentional courting, both on the one hand of all these white supremacists, white nationalists — a group like that — anti-Semitic groups, and then look on the other hand the repeated failure to step up, condemn, denounce, silence, you know, put to bed all those different efforts, just like we saw yesterday. I mean, this is not hard.”

“I’m not going to make any bones about it,” Signer told the Virginian-Pilot. “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.”

A 32-year-old woman was killed and 19 other people were injured when a car rammed into a group of counterprotesters on Saturday in Charlottesville, where torch-bearing demonstrators were protesting the removal of the statue of the Confederate General Robert E. Lee. The driver, James Alex Fields Jr., was arrested and charged with second-degree murder, three counts of malicious wounding and one count related to leaving the scene. Two Virginia state troopers were killed when their police helicopter crashed into woods near the 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.

“We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence, on many sides,” the president said. “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.”

Trump was widely criticized by both Democrats and Republicans for not going far enough in opposing white supremacists and right wing extremism.

“You know, I sort of hung my head,” Signer said of Trump’s response to the violence. “I mean, it’s — it was more of a lot of the same that I think we’ve seen. But, to be honest, this is not about Donald Trump. I mean, you know, we all talk about him a lot. I think this is about the United States of America. It’s about Virginia. It’s about Charlottesville.”

Signer did, however, thank Trump for finally condemning…

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