WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump made his most explicit comments denouncing the hate groups responsible for “this weekend’s racist violence” after two days of bipartisan criticism for his failure to single out white supremacists.
“Racism is evil and those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs, including the KKK, neo-Nazis and white supremacists,” he said flatly, reading from a teleprompter.
“To anyone who acted criminally in this weekend’s racist violence, you will be held fully accountable. Justice will be delivered,” Trump added.
First, however, he spoke glowingly about the economy. The hastily arranged statement, from the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House, will be one of his most scrutinized.
It came after two days of widespread denunciations that Trump had failed to single out white supremacists for fueling the fatal weekend in Charlottesville, Va. Trump’s initial comments instead faulted “this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides, on many sides.”
Before the latest statement, Trump earlier Monday criticized on Twitter the African-American chief executive of Merck, who resigned from a White House manufacturing council on Monday in protest of Trump’s failure to explicitly condemn the racists in Charlottesville.