Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio and Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson criticized President Donald Trump‘s remarks today suggesting white supremacists weren’t the only ones to blame for Saturday’s deadly violence in Charlottesville, Va.
“You had a group on one side that was bad, and you had a group on the other side that was also very violent. And nobody wants to say that, but I’ll say it right now. You had a group — you had a group on the other side that came charging in, without a permit, and they were very, very violent,” Trump said during a news conference at Trump Tower in New York City.
“I’ve condemned neo-Nazis. I’ve condemned many different groups. But not all of those people were neo-Nazis, believe me. Not all of those people were white supremacists by any stretch. Those people were also there because they wanted to protest the taking down of a statue of Robert E. Lee.”
He added: “So this week it’s Robert E. Lee. I noticed that Stonewall Jackson is coming down. I wonder, is it George Washington next week? And is it Thomas Jefferson the week after? You know, you really do have to ask yourself, where does it stop?”
Nelson, on Twitter, said “There is no defending white supremacists, neo-Nazis and the KKK.”
Rubio also faulted Trump’s remarks in a series of tweets.
“The organizers of events which inspired & led to #charlottesvilleterroristattack are 100% to blame for a number of reasons,” Rubio began.
“They are adherents of an evil ideology which argues certain people are inferior because of race, ethnicity or nation of origin…When entire movement built on anger & hatred towards people different than you,it justifies & ultimately leads to violence against them…These groups today use SAME symbols & same arguments of #Nazi & #KKK, groups responsible for some of worst crimes against humanity ever,” Rubio tweeted.
He concluded: “Mr. President,you can’t allow #WhiteSupremacists to share only part of blame.They support idea which cost nation & world so much pain…The #WhiteSupremacy groups will see being assigned only 50% of blame as a win.We can not allow this old evil to be resurrected.”