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Trump condemns deadly violence in Charlottesville: ‘Racism is evil’

Posted at 1:29 PM, Aug 14, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-14 13:59:12-04

WASHINGTON, D.C. – President Donald Trump addressed the violence in Charlottesville over the weekend and condemned those responsible.

His remarks are below:

I just met with FBI director Christopher Wray and Attorney General Jeff Sessions. The Department of Justice has opened a civil rights investigation into the deadly car attack they killed one innocent American and wounded 20 others.

To anyone who acted criminally at this weekend's racist violence, you will be held legally accountable. Justice will be delivered. As I said on Saturday we condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred bigotry and violence. It has no place in America.

And as I have said many times before, no matter the color of your skin we all live under the same laws. We all salute the same great flag and we are all made by the same almighty God.

We must love each other, show affection for each other and unite together in condemnation of hatred bigotry and violence. We must rediscover the bonds of love and loyalty that bring us together as Americans. Racism is evil.

And those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs, including the KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists and other hate groups that are repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans.

We are a nation founded on the truth that all of us are created equal. We are equal in the eyes of our Creator. We are equal under the law and we are equal under our Constitution.

Those who spread violence in the name of bigotry strike at the very core of America.

Two days ago a young American woman Heather Heyer was tragically killed. Her death fills us with grief and we send her family or thoughts are prayers and our love.

We also mourn the two Virginia state troopers who died in service to their community the Commonwealth and their country.

Troopers Jay Cullen and Berke Bates exemplified the very best of America. And our hearts go out to their families, their friends, and every member of American law enforcement.

These three fallen Americans embody the goodness and decency of our nation.

In time such as these America has always shown its true character.

Responding to hate with love, division with unity, and violence with an unwavering resolve for justice.

I promise to restore law and order to our country and to our federal law-enforcement agencies. I promise to follow through on that pledge. We will spare no resource in fighting, so that every American child can grow up free from violence in fear.

We will defend and protect the sacred rights of all Americans and we will work together so that every citizen in this blessed land is free to follow their dreams and their hearts and to express the love and joy in their souls.

Thank you, God bless you, and God bless America.

Trump mostly silent as violence unfolds over weekend

Democrats and Republicans have excoriated Trump for his unwillingness to condemn the groups behind the violent protests that left one woman dead who was allegedly hit by a car driven by a man with ties to white supremacy groups.

After blaming the violence "on many sides" Saturday, Trump stayed silent for close to 48 hours, letting his trademark bluntness and campaign pledges to call terrorism what it is succumb to silence and vagueness.

Trump was asked by reporters after he spoke why he waited so long to condemn these hate groups by name and did not respond.

Trump's comments came as he took a short break from his 17-day long working vacation in New York and New Jersey with a trip to the White House. He initially returned to Washington to meet with top administration officials and sign a presidential memorandum directing his US Trade Representative to determine whether an investigation is needed into China's laws and policies related to trade and intellectual property.

Trump led his brief statement by touting his return to Washington and positive economic news. One aide said the President wanted to give the "full picture" of how he sees things -- not only wanting to do Charlottesville in a vacuum.

This was the White House's latest attempt to clarify Trump's comments from Saturday.

An unnamed White House official said Sunday that "of course" the President condemns "white supremacists, KKK, neo-Nazi and all extremist groups," but declined to explain why the President wasn't saying it himself.

Trump also remained mum on Twitter, declining to send a single tweet of his own Sunday, only the fourth in his 207 days as president that Trump has gone a full day without tweeting a message of his own.

***CNN Wire contributed to this report***