One official’s reaction to the Unite the Right rally is not like the others: Donald Trump’s.
Most officials are condemning in explicit terms the events in Charlottesville, Virginia, where hundreds of white nationalists rallied Friday and Saturday.
Here’s Republican Speaker of the House Paul Ryan clearly condemning the events:
The views fueling the spectacle in Charlottesville are repugnant. Let it only serve to unite Americans against this kind of vile bigotry.— Paul Ryan (@SpeakerRyan) August 12, 2017
Here’s former Republican presidential hopeful Marco Rubio doing the same:
But Trump isn’t speaking the same language. In his first tweet on Charlottesville, he offered a vague denunciation.
We ALL must be united & condemn all that hate stands for. There is no place for this kind of violence in America. Lets come together as one!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 12, 2017
In his second tweet, he called the events “sad!”.
Am in Bedminster for meetings & press conference on V.A. & all that we have done, and are doing, to make it better-but Charlottesville sad!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 12, 2017
It’s an odd combination of reactions given the events that unfolded. Protesters first descended on the city late Friday night, carrying torches in an attempt to protest the removal of a statue of confederate general Robert E. Lee from the UVA campus. The rally quickly descended into violence and was dispersed by police.
By noon Saturday, the group of alt-right white nationalists grew to include tangles of neo-Nazis, and the Ku Klux Klan. A militia arrived heavily armed.
The governor of Virginia’s response was to declare a state of emergency:
Governor McAuliffe has declared a state of emergency to aid state response to violence at Alt-Right rally in Charlottesville— Terry McAuliffe (@GovernorVA) August 12, 2017
Virginia Lt. Gov. tweeted his statement urging Virginians to deny a reaction to the white supremacists.
Ralph's statement on last night’s demonstration and today’s planned rally by white supremacists in Charlottesville: pic.twitter.com/h8HCBAd699— Ralph Northam (@RalphNortham) August 12, 2017
First Lady Melania Trump tweeted more directly at Charlottesville saying “let’s communicate w/o hate in our hearts.”
Our country encourages freedom of speech, but let's communicate w/o hate in our hearts. No good comes from violence. #Charlottesville— Melania Trump (@FLOTUS) August 12, 2017
Charlottesville Mayor Mike Signer released a statement calling the rally “a cowardly parade of hatred, bigotry, racism, and intolerance.”
In response to the president’s tweet, Signer wrote that “our work here is just beginning. Yours is too.”
@realDonaldTrump, thanks, at long last, for condemning hate in speech and action. Our work here is just beginning. Yours is too.— Mike Signer (@MikeSigner) August 12, 2017
Vice President Mike Pence retweeted Trump’s tweet adding that he stands “with @POTUS against hate and violence.”
Other members of Congress joined in, including former Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders.
The white nationalist demonstration in #Charlottesville is a reprehensible display of racism and hatred that has no place in our society.— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) August 12, 2017
The hate and bigotry witnessed in #Charlottesville does not reflect American values. I wholeheartedly oppose their actions.— Leader McConnell (@SenateMajLdr) August 12, 2017
Attorney General Jeff Sessions also released a statement decrying “the violence in Charlottesville and any message of hate and intolerance.”
MORE: AG Sessions on Charlottesville: "This kind of violence is totally contrary to American values and can never be tolerated." pic.twitter.com/vEeqZHb6d3— ABC News (@ABC) August 12, 2017
President Bill Clinton added “we must condemn hatred, violence and white supremacy.”
Even as we protect free speech and assembly, we must condemn hatred, violence and white supremacy. #Charlottesville— Bill Clinton (@billclinton) August 12, 2017
And Education Secretary Betsy DeVos tweeted that she is “disgusted by the behavior and hate-filled rhetoric.”
I'm disgusted by the behavior and hate-filled rhetoric displayed near the University of Virginia in #Charlottesville (1/2)— Betsy DeVos (@BetsyDeVosED) August 12, 2017
It is every American's right to speak their mind, but there is no room for violence or hatred. (2/2)— Betsy DeVos (@BetsyDeVosED) August 12, 2017