U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner, a Colorado Republican, called out President Donald Trump on Saturday for failing to blame white supremacists for escalating violence in Virginia that has claimed at least one life.
“Mr. President – we must call evil by its name,” Gardner said in a tweet. “These were white supremacists and this was domestic terrorism.”
Gardner was reacting to comments delivered by Trump from his New Jersey golf club blaming “many sides” for clashes between protesters and white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Trump came under heavy criticism Saturday for refusing to single out white nationalists and others involved in organizing the Charlottesville rally, including neo-Nazis and Ku Klux Klan members.
“We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides, on many sides,” Trump said. The president ignored reporters’ questions asking what he thought about the white nationalists at the rally who said they support him and were inspired by his presidential campaign.
Gardner’s Democratic colleague, U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet, made a similar point on Twitter Saturday afternoon.
“Today’s attack is not the result of ‘many sides’ — it’s an act of domestic terrorism,” Bennet said in a tweet. “@POTUS should explicitly denounce white supremacy.”
The mayhem was sparked when leaders of the so-called alt-right movement rallied supporters on Friday to protest the city’s decision to remove a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee from a park. Hours after violence erupted Saturday morning between the white nationalists and counter-protesters, a car plowed into a group of people peacefully protesting the rally, killing at least one and injuring at least 26, the Associated Press reported.
In an earlier tweet, Gardner had condemned the violence perpetrated by white nationalists as “domestic terrorism.”
Praying for those hurt & killed today in Charlottesville. This is nothing short of domestic terrorism & should be named as such.— Cory Gardner (@SenCoryGardner) August 12, 2017
Gardner and Bennet had earlier denounced the white nationalist rally as “deeply disturbing” and “contrary to all we stand for as a country.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.