Theresa May condemns ‘racism’ of Charlottesville white supremacists after Donald Trump fails to denounce them

Theresa May has condemned the “racism and hatred” of white supremacists in Charlottesville after protests descended into violence that left one woman dead.

Donald Trump, the US President, has been criticised by senior Republicans after condemning the hate and bigotry “on many sides” rather than giving an unequivocal condemnation of the neo-nazis who organised the rally.

In contrast Mrs May said on Twitter: “Our thoughts and prayers are with Charlottesville. The UK stands with the US against racism, hatred and violence.”

On Saturday a car ploughed into anti-racist activists protesting against a rally of white supremacists and neo-Nazis in Virginia, killing a woman pedestrian and leaving 19 people injured.

The attack in the town of Charlottesville followed violent clashes between the two sides earlier in the day, which had forced the state’s governor to declare a state of emergency and the mayor to tell protesters to go home.

Charlottesville far-right protest

A video on social media showed a car driving at speed into vehicles surrounding the drive, killing a 32-year-old woman. James Fields Jr, 20 from Ohio, was arrested and has been charged with murder.

The rally had been called over plans to remove a statue of the Civil War general Robert E Lee and quickly descended into violence, with extremists wielding clubs and shields and attacking counter-protesters.

Some critics of Mr Trump argue that his refusal to pin the blame on white supremacists are because he fears he could some of the voters who swept him into power.

David Duke, the former Ku Klux Klan leader, said Mr Trump should remember it was white Americans who propelled him to power, not “radical leftists”.

But some of the most senior GOP members of the Senate made it clear they blamed white nationalists for the violence and terror which was inflicted on Charlottesville as they urged Mr Trump to be forthright in his condemnation.

Marco Rubio, the Florida senator who fought a bruising campaign against Mr Trump for the Republican nomination, said it was important to hear the president to describe events in Charlottesville as a terror attack by supremacists.

Cory Gardner, the Republican senator from Ohio, was equally unequivocal, urging Mr Trump to call evil by its name, describing events in Charlottesville as domestic terrorism.

Orrin Hatch, the Republican senator from Utah, said his brother did not die fighting Hitler for Nazi ideas to go unchallenged in the United States.

Iowa’s senator, Chuck Grassley, said what white nationalists were doing in Charlottesville was terrorism which should not be tolerated.

 

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