POLITICS

Two Days After White Supremacist Violence, Trump Finally Condemns Hate Groups

He was criticized for not denouncing them earlier.

08/14/2017 12:57 EDT | Updated 08/14/2017 13:42 EDT

WASHINGTON ― More than 48 hours after white supremacist groups sparked deadly violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, President Donald Trump publicly denounced them after receiving public pressure to do so.

"We condemn in the strongest possible terms this display of hatred, bigotry and violence," he said in an impromptu statement from the White House on Monday after returning to the White House from his golf club in New Jersey.

"Racism is evil, and those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs, including the KKK, Neo-Nazis, white supremacists and other hate groups that are repugnant to what we hold dear as Americans," he added.

Over the weekend, Trump came under widespread criticism for not personally denouncing the far-right groups, instead blaming "many sides" for Saturday's mayhem.

On Sunday, White House officials clarified that Trump was referring to "white supremacists, KKK, Neo-Nazi and all extremist groups," in his prior remark, but the new statement notably did not come from Trump himself and was attributed to an unnamed spokesperson.

Other members of the Trump administration, including Vice President Mike Pence, attempted to clarify Trump's remarks by claiming that he meant to condemn extremist groups.

But Trump remained silent, even tweeting on Monday morning about a range of topics other than the weekend's events. One tweet took aim at a CEO who stepped down from a White House manufacturing panel, protesting Trump's response.

Trump's reluctance to denounce hate groups and individuals like former KKK leader David Duke was also an issue during his campaign.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

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