Ernst, Reynolds condemn Charlottesville violence

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Two of Iowa’s top elected Republicans on Tuesday condemned last weekend’s racial violence in Charlottesville, Va., as “horrifying” and “unconscionable.”

“We should be able to come out, express our feelings in a peaceful manner, but hatred and violence and racism is never OK. It is not acceptable,” Sen. Joni Ernst told reporters after a town hall in Washington, Iowa. “My heart goes out to those who were injured and the young woman who was killed in that violence.”

At her weekly news conference, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds expressed a similar reaction to the violence that left more than 20 injured in addition to the death of a woman protesting the white nationalist rally.

Reynolds called it “unconscionable” and said she has no information that similar events have been planned in Iowa.

“This racist bigotry is not who we are as Americans,” the governor said. “We’ve got to come together and really fight for what unites us. It’s unacceptable. It can’t be tolerated. There is absolutely no place for the hatred that we saw there.”

Reynolds also had spoken out Saturday on social media: “We must forcefully condemn ugly, vile, racist hate. My prayers are with the victims of these despicable acts.”

Ernst said she wished President Donald Trump had spoken out sooner and more forcefully condemned the violence.

“Slow. Slow. Too slow,” she said when asked. “We need to make sure that we are expressing how horrible this situation is when it occurs.”

Ernst hoped the nation could move forward with peaceful discussions of racial issues, but said it has to happen at all levels of society, not just at the presidential and congressional levels.

“We really need to have the discussion from the street all the way to the top to make sure that people understand that racism is not OK, violence is not OK,” she said. “We certainly can have disagreements among ourselves on different ideologies, but that racism is not OK and violence are not OK.”

l Comments: (319) 398-8375; james.lynch@thegazette.com

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