This past weekend quickly turned violent, as white supremacists and neo-Nazis descended on the university town of Charlottesville, Virginia. The Unite the Right rally, which was organized in response to the town’s plan to remove a Confederate statue, caused a state of emergency and the death of one counter-protester, Heather Heyer. Nineteen others were also injured, after a car, driven by a Nazi sympathizer, rammed into counter-protesters who were bravely standing up against the hate, bigotry, and racism of the rally. Many fear that the white supremacists won’t stop in Charlottesville, as they have claimed the rally as a “success” and want to take their message to a national level. As more progressive leaders order the removal of Confederate statues, like Mayor Mitch Landrieu in New Orleans, these rallies may occur more frequently.
With well-known white nationalists occupying offices in the White House, it came as no surprise that President Trump’s Saturday statement on Charlottesville was weak and refused to call the attacks what they were—domestic terrorism. Trump said that the violence was due to “many sides,” sparking anger among people on both sides of the aisle. He also never used the following terms: “racist,” “white supremacy,” or “neo-Nazis.” And though he’s been active on Twitter since his original tweets and statements on Charlottesville, he has avoided the topic, instead tweeting about trade and—of course—attacking his opponents.
On Monday, Trump spoke to the press, but began with talking about the economy. He finally did call out the protestors in Charlottesville for what they were—racists, white supremacists, KKK, and neo-Nazis. He also repeated his main statement from Saturday about condemning “hate, bigotry, and violence,” but notably left off his unscripted remarks about the violence stemming from “many sides.” But, it seemed to be the bare minimum required of the President, and it’s shameful that it took a massive backlash from all sides to force this new statement.
ACTION OF THE DAY
Take Action Against Hatred. After the horrific events in Charlottesvville this weekend, it’s time to take action. Here are three things you can do today:
1. Find or plan a solidarity vigil or event near you at ResistanceNearMe.org.
2. Sign Color of Change’s petition to remove all confederate symbols across the country.
3. Register to vote and make sure all of your friends, neighbors, and communities are registered.
And then share these actions with your friends!
In Memoriam. Heather Heyer’s family is speaking out after the 32-year-old was killed on Saturday in the deadly car attack in Charlottesville. Her mother said, “Heather, her entire life, has been passionate about justice for everyone and fair treatment.” Governor Terry McAuliffe of Virginia tweeted about Heyer, writing, “She died standing up against hate & bigotry. Her bravery should inspire all to come together.”
Trump on the Attack. Ken Frazier, the CEO of Merck, was the latest target of Trump’s criticism after he resigned from the President’s Manufacturing Council. Frazier stepped down after the President refused to condemn white supremacists, joining a long list of people speaking out against Trump’s silence. This is just another example of Trump using stronger language to attack his detractors rather than the racists perpetrating violence in Charlottesville.
Blocked. The Daily Stormer, a neo-Nazi website that is hosted by GoDaddy, has been kicked off its GoDaddy’s domain after it posted a hateful article about Heather Heyer, a victim of the Charlottesville attack. The site’s founder lauded Trump’s comments on Charlottesville, saying, “There was virtually no counter signaling of us at all. He loves us all.”
“Good People.” Tom Bossert, a White House homeland security adviser, supported Trump’s statements on Charlottesville yesterday, saying, “I’m sure there were good people in the groups that had various opinions on the removal or maintenance of the statue.” Equating the counter protestors, who were peaceful, to the violent pro-Confederacy protestors is a lie. And the idea that “good people” support keeping statues of treasonous people who rebelled against the United States is hard to believe.
He Was Warned. A new report from Foreign Policy finds that the FBI and Department of Homeland Security warned the President in May that white supremacists would carry out violent attacks in the coming year. The memo from the FBI notes that white supremacists “were responsible for 49 homicides in 26 attacks from 2000 to 2016…more than any other domestic extremist movement.”
No Justice, No Peace. People across the country and around the world took to the streets yesterday to protest the violence and racism in Charlottesville and to call on President Trump to take harsher actions against the white supremacists. For coverage of the rallies in the Nation’s capital, check out @CAPAction on Twitter.