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Trump says blame for Virginia violence belongs 'on many sides'

Jackie Calmes, Tribune Washington Bureau on

Published in News & Features

President Donald Trump said blame for violence by white supremacists in Charlottesville, Va., belongs "on many sides," just after authorities confirmed that at least one person had died in an attack earlier in the day by a car.

The president's statement Saturday, from his golf club in New Jersey, is sure to inflame criticism that already had built over two days as he first was silent on Ku Klux Klan-led protests and then made two posts on Twitter that generically condemned hate without citing any groups.

"We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry, and violence on many sides, on many sides," Trump said.

"What is vital now is a swift restoration of law and order and the protection of innocent lives," he said.

Trump's appearance had been previously scheduled to highlight his work for veterans and on the economy. The president mostly dealt with those topics during the event, which lasted just over 10 minutes. After a short statement on Charlottesville, he talked about the economy and greeted veterans, before leaving without answering questions.

Among the questions he ignored Saturday was, "Do you want the support of these white nationalists?" Another asked whether the violence should be considered terrorism.

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