Vermont’s Republican governor and two senators have all spoken out against President Donald Trump’s comments in the aftermath of a violent white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.
President Donald Trump said on Saturday that “many sides” were to blame for the violence. National Republicans and Democrats have criticized him for not immediately denouncing what has been deemed a terrorist attack by a white supremacist.
Trump held a press conference on Monday — two days after the violence, in which he castigated neo-Nazis, white supremacists and the Ku Klux Klan. On Tuesday, he blamed the “alt-left,” and on Thursday the president said it was “foolish” to take down statues of Confederate soldiers.
Gov. Phil Scott made comments on social media Saturday about the events in Charlottesville and issued an official statement for the first time on Thursday. “As the son of a disabled World War II veteran, who died when I was 11 from injuries sustained in the war, I am personally troubled by the President’s comments,” Scott said in a written statement.
“There is no circumstance I can think of, where a president – or any elected official – should equate the hate speech of Nazis and white supremacists with the protests of Americans who confront them,” Scott said.
“When those embedded embers flare up – and let’s be honest, they still do, far too often – every elected leader, and indeed every American, has an obligation to stand up to bring people together around our core values and our belief that all people are created equal,” the governor said.
“We must speak out against racism and fascism in any form, at any scale, any time they rear their ugly head,” Scott said. “ And, like in World War II, when these ideologies were accepted and promoted by leaders in governments, it posed a clear threat to our democratic republic, and it was confronted.”
Sen. Patrick Leahy said in an interview Thursday that Trump should not be retweeting “what are basically Nazi slogans” or “standing up for people who are espousing Nazi ideas.”
“We fought the Nazis in World War II,” Leahy said. “We lost thousands and thousands of brave men and women doing that. We saved democracy along with our allies who also lost even more. You don’t praise people who are trying to bring back Naziism.”
Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., issued a statement Tuesday directly to Trump: “You are embarrassing our country and the millions of Americans who fought and died to defeat Nazism. The violence in Charlottesville was not caused by the ‘alt-left,’ (whatever that may be). It was caused by Neo-Nazis and white supremacists who are attempting to spread their hateful and racist ideology.”