After two days of bipartisan criticism for his failure to single out white supremacists, President Trump on Monday made his most explicit comments denouncing the hate groups responsible for "this weekend's racist violence."
"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.
Just three days ago, a seemingly gleeful President Trump promised reporters he'd hold a "pretty big press conference on Monday."
But on his public schedule -- released just after midnight Monday and then updated about 9:15 a.m. ET -- there is no mention of a press conference. His press team did not respond to an email requesting an explanation.
One can certainly imagine the questions: Why, Mr. President, did you fail to specifically condemn white nationalists who caused a bloody weekend in Charlottesville, Va., that ended with three deaths? Do you disagree with prominent Republicans who called the car attack that killed a counter-protester and injured many others an act of "domestic terrorism" and called on you to unequivocally denounce the racists? Why did you blame "many sides" when you have argued in the past for calling violence by Muslims by name, "radical Islamic terrorism"? Do you believe the anti-racism counter-protesters were equally culpable?
Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions told ABC's “Good Morning America” today that the death of a woman in Charlottesville, Va., “does meet the definition of domestic terrorism in our statute.”
Sessions said the Justice Department is pursuing the case “in every way.”
“You can be sure we will charge and advance the investigation towards the most serious charges that can be brought, because this is an unequivocally unacceptable and evil attack that cannot be accepted in America,” Sessions said.
The chief executive of pharmaceutical giant Merck & Co. publicly resigned from a White House manufacturing council on Monday, declaring he felt “a responsibility to take a stand against intolerance and extremism.”
The move by Kenneth Frazier, one of corporate America’s leading African American executives, came after President Trump was criticized for not explicitly condemning white supremacists after violent clashes with counter-protesters turned deadly in Charlottesville, Va., on Saturday.
Cast once again in the role of interpreter of President Trump's comments, Vice President Mike Pence is touring Latin America and attempting to dispel his boss' threat of military action against Venezuela.
Trump on Friday said he would not "rule out" a "military option" to confront the crisis in Venezuela, where the increasingly authoritarian practices of leftist President Nicolas Maduro have touched off waves of deadly political violence and humanitarian disaster.
Trump's threat was roundly decried in Latin America just as Pence headed out for a weeklong, four-nation tour on Sunday.
The president flew into New York on Sunday evening. He has suggested he would address the media while there.
Trump also tweeted his endorsement of Sen. Luther Strange (R-Ala.), who was appointed to temporarily fill the seat held by Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions and now faces a special primary election next week to try to win the office outright.
CIA Director Mike Pompeo said on Sunday that President Trump would consider it “unacceptable” for North Korea to possess a nuclear-armed ballistic missile capable of striking the United States — a development believed to be soon within Pyongyang's reach.
But the intelligence chief also said he saw no imminent threat of North Korea attacking the U.S. with such a nuclear weapon, although he expected the rogue nation's missile program would continue despite international sanctions.
Speaking on CBS’ “Face the Nation,” Pompeo said Trump had “made very clear that the United States finds it unacceptable for a rogue leader like Kim Jong Un to have the capacity of a ballistic missile with a warhead that is integrated and fully deliverable to the United States and hold America and the world at risk.”
White House officials on Sunday defended President Trump’s failure to explicitly condemn white supremacist groups over deadly violence a day earlier in Charlottesville, Va., suggesting his implicit denunciation of them was clear in his remarks Saturday.
Yet as criticism of the president poured in for a second day, including from some GOP allies, his national security advisor, H.R. McMaster, suggested Trump would have more to say on the subject.
"I’m sure you will hear from the president more about this," he said on NBC's "Meet the Press."
Republican elected officials, who increasingly have been putting distance between themselves and President Trump, jumped quickly away from him Saturday after his equivocating response to the violence in Charlottesville, Va.
Some, including Sen. Cory Gardner, who heads the Republican effort to elect senators in next year's midterm election, repudiated Trump directly, criticizing him for not condemning the white supremacist groups that marched in the Virginia college town Friday and Saturday.
Mr. President - we must call evil by its name. These were white supremacists and this was domestic terrorism. https://t.co/PaPNiPPAoW