DENVER – Colorado politicians from across the aisle condemned what some of them called “domestic acts of terrorism” following a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va., that left a woman dead and more than a dozen injured Saturday.
Among them was Republican Sen. Cory Gardner, who reprimanded President Donald Trump and urged him to “call evil by its name.”
Mr. President - we must call evil by its name. These were white supremacists and this was domestic terrorism. https://t.co/PaPNiPPAoW
— Cory Gardner (@SenCoryGardner) August 12, 2017
Gardner’s tweet came after President Trump blamed “many sides” for the violence in the Virginia college town.
But Gardner wasn’t the only one to call out the president for not singling out white supremacists for the Unite the Right rally, which brought together Neo-Nazis and others in the alt-Right movement to downtown Charlottesville.
“Today’s attack is not the results of ‘many sides’ – it’s an act of domestic terrorism. @POTUS should explicitly denounce white supremacy,” said Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet, reacting to Trump’s remarks about the violence in Virginia.
The events in VA are contrary to all we stand for as a country. Embrace inclusion, celebrate differences—that's the America we believe in.
— Michael F. Bennet (@SenBennetCO) August 12, 2017
During his remarks from a podium set up in his New Jersey golf clubhouse, Trump told the nation he had spoken with the governor of Virginia and that both "agreed that the hate and the division must stop, and must stop right now. … No matter our color, our creed, religion or political party, we are all Americans first.”
As he left the podium, Trump ignored questions from reporters who asked if he wanted the support of white nationalist groups who attended the rally, and if he would call an incident where a vehicle plowed into a group of counter-protesters “terrorism.”
"Do you want the support of these white nationalist groups?" Pres. Trump ignores question after blaming "many sides" for #Charlottesville. pic.twitter.com/BCXp00F89G
— Denver7 News (@DenverChannel) August 13, 2017
U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman said he was heartbroken to hear about the deadly violence, and also called the events a “domestic terror attack.”
“Evil, no matter its face, must be condemned,” he tweeted.
Congressman Jared Polis, who is running for the Colorado governorship in 2018, said voices of counter-protesters “were silenced by an extreme act of violence.”
Meanwhile, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper denounced the violence and said hatred had no place in society. “Now is a time to come together,” he said.
“My heart wrenches for VA & I pray for the safety of all in #Charlottesville during these horrific turn of events,” said Denver Mayor Michael Hancock. “For the future of our country, leaders & community members must denounce these hate fueled acts.”
PHOTOS: Chaos in Charlottesville
White nationalists had assembled in Charlottesville to vent their frustration against the city’s plans to take down a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.
Disturbances began Friday night during a torch-lit march through the University of Virginia before escalating Saturday.
Trump, as a candidate, frequently came under scrutiny for being slow to offer his condemnation of white supremacists. His strongest denunciation of the movement has not come voluntarily, only when asked, and he occasionally trafficked in retweets of racist social media posts during his campaign. His chief strategist, Steve Bannon, once declared that his former news site, Breitbart, was “the platform for the alt-right.”
The president’s reluctance to condemn white supremacists also stood in stark contrast by his insistence of calling out “radical Islamic terrorism” by name.
U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter, Rep. Diana DeGette and Rep. Scott Tipton also condemned the violence in Virginia.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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