Moments after a person was killed and others injured during the “Unite the Right” rally led by white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton condemned the violence and called on political leaders to take action. “Every minute we allow this to persist through tacit encouragement or inaction is a disgrace, & corrosive to our values,” she wrote on Twitter.
“My heart is in Charlottesville today, and with everyone made to feel unsafe in their country,” Clinton tweeted. “But the incitement of hatred that got us here is as real and condemnable as the white supremacists in our streets. Every minute we allow this to persist through tacit encouragement or inaction is a disgrace, & corrosive to our values. Now is the time for leaders to be strong in their words & deliberate in their actions. We will not step backward. If this is not who we are as Americans, let’s prove it.”
The words from Clinton came after violence erupted at the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, where white supremacists have been protesting the planned removal of a Robert E. Lee Statue. During the protest, a driver purposefully drove into a crowd of counter-protesters, killing at least one person and injuring others. Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe declared a state of emergency in the city, which is home to the University of Virginia.
Former President Barack Obama tweeted an inspiring message:
Clinton’s husband, former President Bill Clinton, added, “Even as we protect free speech and assembly, we must condemn hatred, violence and white supremacy.”
“No. Not in America. We must be stronger, more determined and more united than ever. Racism and hate have no place here,” Former Vice President Joe Biden tweeted.
President Donald Trump first reacted to the violence in Charlottesville with a general tweet that read, “We ALL must be united & condemn all that hate stands for. There is no place for this kind of violence in America. Lets come together as one!” He sent another message which read, “Am in Bedminster for meetings & press conference on V.A. & all that we have done, and are doing, to make it better-but Charlottesville sad!”
“We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides,” Trump added in a press conference. Trump declined to specifically condemn white supremacists though.
Senator Richard Blumenthal, a Democrat from Connecticut, criticized Trump for his “many sides” comment.
Other Republican politicians condemned the violence. Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush specifically called out white supremacists, writing, “The white supremacists and their bigotry do not represent our great country. All Americans should condemn this vile hatred.”
Republican Senator Cory Gardner of Colorado criticized Trump for not using the term “white supremacist.”