2017 Unite the Right rally

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2017 Unite the Right rally
Alt Right demonstrators class with counter demonstrators at the entrance to Lee Park in Charlottesville, Aug. 12, 2017.jpg
Demonstrators and counter-demonstrators clash at Emancipation Park in Charlottesville on August 12, 2017
Date August 11–12, 2017 (2017-08-11 – 2017-08-12)
Location Charlottesville, Virginia, U.S.
Theme Protest the removal of Confederate monuments and memorials from public spaces
Organized by Jason Kessler
Deaths 3
(1 killed by vehicular ramming;
2 state troopers killed in helicopter crash)
Non-fatal injuries 38+
(19 injured by vehicle ramming;
at least 19 injured in other clashes)
Arrest(s) 4[1]

Summary

The Unite the Right rally was a protest gathering of alt-right, right-wing, and far-right groups in Charlottesville, Virginia, United States, on August 11 and 12, 2017.[2][3] Those assembled at the rally included white nationalists, alt-right media figures, neo-Confederates, militia movements, and allegedly white supremacists and neo-Nazis.[3] The participants were broadly protesting against what they see as the corruption of Western culture and society since World War 2 through mass immigration and the spread of cultural Marxism, which they blame for many alleged ills. These specific protests were triggered by the removal of Confederate monuments and memorials from public spaces, in this case the Robert Edward Lee Sculpture in Emancipation Park. The protesters saw the removal as a left-wing cultural attack using the tool of political correctness.

Hundreds of protesters and counterprotesters (including large Antifa contingents) were in attendance, and several violent clashes occurred between them.[4][2] At least 19 people were injured in street brawls and other violence at the rally.[3]

One protester plowed a car into a crowd of counterprotesters carrying red flags, killing a woman and injuring 19 other people, including five critically.[3] Over time, reports emerged that the driver claimed to be acting in self-defense. Allegedly, he was not looking ahead when he plowed into the crowd, as he was focused on another group of counterprotesters attacking his car from behind. The victim, who was obese, also reportedly died of a heart attack, though she did suffer some injuries from the ramming.[5] Legally, the driver was likely still guilty of leaving the site of an accident, a felony in this case, even if he feared he would be attacked by the counterprotesters. Separately, a police helicopter monitoring the scene crashed 7 miles (11 km) southwest of Charlottesville, killing the two Virginia State Police troopers on board.[6]

Rally organizers claim that they only wanted to hold a peaceful demonstration, but were violently attacked by left-wing protesters throughout the event and that the violence from their side was mostly self defense, while the local police took the side of the left-wing counterprotesters. They also allege the events were used by the mainstream media in an attempt to discredit all right-wing and alt-right activists. Many rally participants were identified by left-wing doxers, and were fired by their employers.

In October 2017, the "Governor’s Civil Unrest Task Force" report indirectly blamed the city government for the violence, for passively allowing Antifa and other counter-protesters to harass the tightly-controlled rally participants, who were allegedly more likely to be arrested when they fought back.[7]

Later that year, rally organizers returned to Charlottesville to hold smaller protests.[8]

The sequel event, Unite the Right 2, also known as the 2018 Unite the Right rally, was held in Washington, D.C., on August 12, 2018.

Background

Summer rallies in Charlottesville

On May 13, 2017, White Nationalist Richard Spencer led a protest in Charlottesville, Virginia, using the city's plans to remove a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee from a downtown park to draw attention to the alleged threats of political correctness as a tool of Cultural Marxism. The event involved protesters holding what opponents called "tiki" torches near the statue. That night a candlelight counter-protest also took place.[9]

The Ku Klux Klan held another rally in Charlottesville on June 8.[10] In opposition to the rally, the Charlottesville Clergy Collective created a safe space at First United Methodist Church, which was used by over 600 people.[10]

On July 8, another Ku Klux Klan rally was held in Charlottesville's Jackson Park (later renamed Justice Park). About 50 Klan members and 1,000 counter-protesters gathered at a loud but nonviolent rally; the Klan members left the park after about 45 minutes.[11]

Protesters and counter-protesters

The August 11–12 protest was organized around the removal of a statue of Confederate general Robert E. Lee in Emancipation Park.[12][13] One organizer, Jason Kessler, also cited the renaming of "Lee Park" to "Emancipation Park" as a motive for the rally.[2][14] The event organizers included white nationalists, white supremacists and members of the alt-right.[15][16]

Among the far-right groups engaged in organizing the march were the neo-Nazi Daily Stormer clubs,[17] the neo-Confederate League of the South,[11] the National Policy Institute,[18] and the National Socialist Movement.[11] Other groups involved in the rally were the Ku Klux Klan,[3] the Fraternal Order of Alt-Knights,[19] the 3 Percenters,[20] the Traditionalist Workers Party,[19] Identity Evropa,[1] Vanguard America,[19] the American Guard,[21] the Pennsylvania Light Foot Militia,[22] the Nationalist Front,[11] and Anti-Communist Action.[21]

Prominent far-right figures in attendance included Richard Spencer,[23] Tim Treadstone,[23] Augustus Invictus,[24] David Duke,[25] Nathan Damigo,[24] Matthew Heimbach,[23] Faith Goldy,[26] Mike Enoch,[23] League of the South founder Michael Hill,[24] AltRight.com editor Daniel Friberg,[27] former Business Insider CTO Pax Dickinson,[28] Daily Stormer writer Johnny Monoxide,[28] self-described "white activist" and organizer Jason Kessler,[29] and radio host Christopher Cantwell.[30][31]

The opposition

In July 2017, Charlottesville authorities predicted up to 4,000 protesters and counterprotesters could be in and around Emancipation Park during the rally.[32][28] Ahead of the event, an array of "faith-based groups, civil rights organizations, local businesses, and faculty and students at the University of Virginia" planned counter-protests.[15] In July 2017, the ecumenical and interfaith clergy group Congregate Charlottesville called for a thousand members of the clergy to counter-protest at the rally.[11][33] Groups counter-protesting included Black Lives Matter,[34] Anti-Racist Action,[35] Antifa,[2] the Democratic Socialists of America,[36] Redneck Revolt,[37] the Industrial Workers of the World,[38][39] and Showing Up for Racial Justice.[35][40][41]

The Southern Poverty Law Center opposed the rally from the outset, warning that it was "shaping up to be the largest hate-gathering of its kind in decades in the United States" and condemned the expected attendees "from immigration foes to anti-Semitic bigots, neo-Confederates, Proud Boys, Patriot and militia types, outlaw bikers, swastika-wearing neo-Nazis, white nationalists and Ku Klux Klan members".[24]

Airbnb also opposed the rally's political goals, reversing multiple online bookings and banning user accounts involving attendees. The company said that users must endorse a commitment to "accept people regardless of their race, religion, national origin, ethnicity, disability, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, or age".[42]

City and university preparations

The rally occurred when the University of Virginia was between its summer and fall semesters.[43] On August 4, University of Virginia (UVA) President Teresa Sullivan sent an e-mail to students and faculty, which said, "I urge students and all UVA community members to avoid the August 12 rally and avoid physical confrontation generally. There is a credible risk of violence at this event, and your safety is my foremost concern."[44]

Fearing possible violence, the Virginia Discovery Museum and many downtown businesses closed for the day of the rally.[11]

Permit and court cases

Video posted to YouTube by 'Unite the Right' event organizer Jason Kessler on August 7

Kessler, the organizer of the "Unite the Right" rally, applied for a permit from the City of Charlottesville to hold the event at Emancipation Park. The week before the event, the Charlottesville government—including Mayor Michael Signer, city council, City Manager Maurice Jones, and Police Chief Al Thomas— said they would approve the permit only if the event was moved to the larger McIntire Park.[11][45] The city's leaders cited safety concerns and logistical issues associated with holding the event at Emancipation Park, adjacent to the densely populated Downtown Mall.[45] Kessler refused to agree to relocate the rally, and the City relocated the rally anyway, a decision praised by the Downtown Business Association of Charlottesville.[45]

Kessler, supported by the Rutherford Institute and ACLU, sued the City of Charlottesville and Jones on First Amendment grounds in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia. On the evening of August 11, the night before the rally, Judge Glen E. Conrad granted an emergency injunction declaring the Unite the Right rally could go forward.[46] Conrad granted the injunction for the rally due to several factors; Emancipation Park was the location for the statue of Robert Lee that was planned to be taken down and that the rally was partially for, that resources would be needed at both parks for both the rally and the counterprotestors, and that the move to McIntire Park was due to the viewpoints of the organizer and not the safety of the public.[47][48] The court's decision was praised by the ACLU.[49] Mayor Signer issued a statement saying: "While the City is disappointed by tonight's ruling, we will abide by the judge's decision. ... Chief Thomas, his team and the hundreds of law enforcement officials in our City will now turn their full attention to protecting the Downtown area during tomorrow's events."[46]

Counterprotesters ultimately obtained permits to gather at McGuffey Park, Justice Park, and Emancipation Park.[11][50]

August 11

Video posted to YouTube by Unite the Right event organizer Jason Kessler on August 11.

Tensions increased on the evening of Friday, August 11, when several dozens of white nationalists[51][52][53] marched through the University of Virginia's campus while chanting "White lives matter", "you will not replace us" and "Jews will not replace us"[2]. The phrase "you will not replace us" has been condemned by the Anti-Defamation League as the perception that "the white race is doomed to extinction by an alleged 'rising tide of color' purportedly controlled and manipulated by Jews".[54] This alleged process, whether deliberate or as a side-effect of various lofty social goals, is also described as population replacement by its opponents. The Nazi slogan "Blood and Soil" was also used.[3][52][43][53] The group was primarily white men,[53] many wielding tiki torches.[43][53][55] The white nationalists marched from Nameless Field to The Lawn.[55]

At the Rotunda,[55] the group encountered counterprotesters next to a statue of university founder Thomas Jefferson.[3][43][55] The white nationalists encircled the smaller group of counterprotesters at the base of the statue, and a brawl ensued.[55][53] Several "members of both sides were reportedly hit with pepper spray, and several people were treated at the scene for minor injuries".[52] The white nationalists "began swinging and throwing their lit tiki torches" amid the chaos.[55]

Following the outbreak of violence, police declared the assembly to be unlawful and brought an end to the gathering. The Cavalier Daily claimed that "While waiting for rides at Nameless Field after the march, several of the 'alt-right' protesters hurled anti-Semitic, homophobic and misogynistic slurs at several reporters and community members asking them questions. One man asking questions was thrown to the ground and surrounded by marchers after a brief physical altercation."[55] Mayor Michael Signer condemned the gathering, writing that: "When I think of candlelight, I want to think of prayer vigils. Today, in 2017, we are instead seeing a cowardly parade of hatred, bigotry, racism, and intolerance march."[43]

Elsewhere, clergy led a pro-immigration ecumenical Christian and interfaith prayer service at St. Paul's Memorial Church on University Avenue in opposition to the Unite the Right rally.[56][57][58]

August 12

File:Altercations at Charlottesville Rally.webm
Voice of America coverage of an altercation between white nationalists and counterprotestors at the rally

Protesters and counterprotesters gathered at Emancipation Park in anticipation of the rally. White nationalist protesters chanted Nazi-era slogans,[2] including "Blood and Soil".[43][59] They shouted "You will not replace us" and "Jews will not replace us."[2] Some waved Confederate flags, and others held posters targeting Jews that read "the Goyim know", using the Yiddish word for non-Jews, as well as "the Jewish media is going down".[3] Protesters also shouted racial slurs and "Jew" when Charlottesville mayor Michael Signer was mentioned, and they waved Nazi flags and signs claiming, among other things, that "Jews are Satan's children".[60] A number of them wore Donald Trump's red "Make America Great Again" campaign hats.[3]

Counterprotests in opposition to the white nationalists began with an interfaith, interracial group of clergy who linked arms, prayed, and sang songs of peace. Later in the day militant groups chanted such slogans as "Kill All Nazis."[61]

Beginning in the morning, ahead of the rally's official noon start time,[62] "protesters and counterprotesters faced off, kicking, punching, hurling water bottles at and deploying chemical sprays against one another."[63][64] An estimated 500 protesters and more than a thousand counterprotesters were on the site.[63] At least 19 people were injured in "street brawls" and other violence at the rally.[3]

At 11:00 a.m., the City of Charlottesville declared a state of emergency, citing an "imminent threat of civil disturbance, unrest, potential injury to persons, and destruction of public and personal property". One hour later, Virginia governor Terry McAuliffe declared a state of emergency, stating: "It is now clear that public safety cannot be safeguarded without additional powers, and that the mostly-out-of-state protesters have come to Virginia to endanger our citizens and property. I am disgusted by the hatred, bigotry and violence these protesters have brought to our state."[2]

At about 11:40 a.m., shortly before the rally was scheduled to begin, Virginia State Police declared the gathering an unlawful assembly via megaphones,[62] and riot police cleared the scene.[65] Following this, "a hard core of about 100 far-right protesters" moved to McIntire Park about 2 miles (3 km) away, where they gathered to hear speakers who had been scheduled for the 'Unite the Right' event.[65][66]

Vehicular attack on counterprotesters

File:2017 Charlottesville car-ramming.webm
Video of the attack by witness

During the rally, at about 1:45 p.m., 20-year-old far-right protester James Alex Fields drove his car into a crowd of far-left protesters, killing 32-year-old far-left activist Heather D. Heyer, and injuring 19 others, in what some police called a deliberate attack.[67][68][69] The incident occurred at a pedestrian mall at Water and Fourth streets (Lua error in Module:Coordinates at line 668: callParserFunction: function "#coordinates" was not found.).[70] Video footage showed a gray 2010 Dodge Challenger speeding into crowds on a street, sending bodies flying, then reversing at high speed, hitting more people.[3] The crowd response was also captured in aerial video footage taken by a drone.[71] A photographer present at the scene said the car "plowed into a sedan and then into a minivan. Bodies flew. People were terrified and screaming." Some close to it said it was "definitely a violent attack".[65]

Far-right commentators claimed the driver's vehicle had been attacked by protesters moments earlier, and he was speeding to flee the scene in self-defense,[72] even attempting to brake at the last moment,[73] but these claims were vigorously disputed. There were also claims the police deliberately tried to isolate protesters in that area, and directed them toward larger groups of Antifa. Heyer's death was claimed to be mostly the result of her obesity, though this would not affect Fields's legal culpability.[74][75]

Of the 19 injured, the University of Virginia Medical Center reported five were in critical condition.[3] A number of commentators, lawmakers and officials, including National Security Adviser H. R. McMaster and several U.S. senators, have described the attack as an act of domestic terrorism.[76][77][78]

Shortly after the collision, the alleged driver was arrested.[67][79] He was charged with second-degree murder, three counts of malicious wounding, and failure to stop following an accident resulting in death, and was held without bail at the Albermarle-Charlottesville County Regional Jail.[79][65]

Late on the night of August 12, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said the U.S. Department of Justice would open a civil rights investigation into the crash; federal investigators are investigating whether the suspect "crossed state lines with the intent to commit violence".[80][81] Later, Sessions stated that the attack meets the definition of "domestic terrorism" and that it was an "an unacceptable, evil attack."[82]

Separate GoFundMe pages were set up for the Heyer family and for those injured in the crash; the latter was organized by the Anchorage co-chairman of the Democratic Socialists of America.[83]

Helicopter crash

In the afternoon of August 12, a Bell 407 helicopter owned by the Virginia State Police crashed 2 miles (3.2 km) west of Charlottesville, killing two Virginia state troopers who were on board. The victims, Lieutenant H. Jay Cullen, 48, of Midlothian, Virginia, and trooper Berke M.M. Bates, 40, were on the way to assist with security and public safety in the city. The crash is being investigated by the Federal Aviation Administration, National Transportation Safety Board, and Virginia State Police.[84][6]

Aftermath

Protests and vigils

File:Charlottesville-50245 (36509499696).jpg
Candlelight vigil and protest held in Pittsburgh on August 13

The day following the rally, several left-wing "anti-hate advocates" organized vigils and demonstrations in cities across the country. Some events "focused on showing support for the people whom white supremacists condemn. Other demonstrations were pushing for the removal of Confederate monuments.... Still other gatherings aimed to denounce fascism and a presidential administration that organizers feel has let white supremacists feel empowered."[85] In Brooklyn, demonstrators at the "Peace and Sanity" rally heard addresses by Public Advocate Letitia James and City Comptroller Scott Stringer.[85] In Los Angeles, hundreds gathered on the steps of City Hall to condemn white-nationalists and to honor those killed on their side.[86]

On the afternoon of the day after the rally, Unite the Right organizer Jason Kessler attempted to hold a press conference in front of Charlottesville City Hall, but was forced to abandon the conference by counterprotesters.[87] Richard Spencer, a speaker at the event, said he was not responsible for the violence, and blamed counter-protesters and police.[85]

Cyberattacks and activism

GoDaddy gave the The Daily Stormer, an American neo-Nazi and white supremacist news and commentary website, 24 hours to move its domain to another provider before it is deactivated.[88] This occurred after editor Andrew Anglin described the victim as a "fat, childless 32-year-old slut".[89] The alleged motives and undisputed left-wing activities of the killed protester were discussed at length on Anglin's comments sections. Anglin then attempted to re-host his site at a Google-based Internet service, but that corporation also cancelled his service for political reasons.[90]

Hacktivist collective Anonymous shut down numerous websites associated with the Ku Klux Klan and neo-Nazi organisations following the protests.[91]

Alt-right website Red Ice TV was also hacked. [92] In a video statement, they claimed their coverage and support of the rally was the cause of the cyberattack.[92][93]

Accounts doxing marchers also appeared, and this led to political retaliations against attendees, including termination of employment.[94][95]

Reactions

Before the rally, Senator Tim Kaine expressed support for free speech, but condemned the rally.[96] In an address later following the rally, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, flanked by Charlottesville mayor Michael Signer, and Charlottesville's police chief, said: "I have a message to all the white supremacists and the Nazis who came into Charlottesville today. Our message is plain and simple. Go home ... You are not wanted in this great commonwealth."[97] Signer said he was "disgusted" that white supremacists came to his town and claimed President Donald Trump had deliberately inflamed racial tensions during his 2016 campaign and later: "I'm not going to make any bones about it. I place the blame for a lot of what you're seeing in America today right at the doorstep of the White House and the people around the president."[98][99]

Following the rally, UVA president Teresa A. Sullivan condemned the "senseless violence" at the rally and asked university community members to help protect "the safety and well-being of all members of our community ... by staying off the streets tonight as our public safety officials work to maintain order and offer assistance to those who are in need".[100]

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan tweeted to condemn the right-wing protesters: "The views fueling the spectacle in Charlottesville are repugnant. Let it only serve to unite Americans against this kind of vile bigotry."[101]

The Pennsylvania Light Foot Militia, one of the right wing groups present during the rally, distanced itself from the events that unfolded, claiming their presence there was to "keep the peace" between the demonstrators and the counter-demonstrators and to "help people exercise their First Amendment rights". The leader of the group condemned both sides, describing them as "jackasses".[102]

Alleged media distortion claims

Andrew Anglin and others wrote that a main demand of the protesters was deliberately suppressed by the mainstream media; namely the right of white peoples to have their own homelands, in the same way that non-white peoples throughout the Third World have the undisputed right to their own homelands. Paraphrased: Africa for the Africans; Asia for the Asians; the West for everybody.[103]

President Trump's first statement

File:Trump's Remarks on Violence in at White Supremacist Rally in Virginia.webm
Speaking in New Jersey, President Trump condemns the violence which occurred at the white supremacist rally in Virginia. Video from Voice of America

On August 12, Trump responded by saying: "We all must be united & condemn all that hate stands for. There is no place for this kind of violence in America. Let's come together as one!" He condemned "in the strongest possible terms" what he called an "egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides. On many sides."[104][105] He added, "What is vital now is a swift restoration of law and order."[105]

Reaction

Because Trump did not specifically denounce white nationalists, white supremacists or neo-Nazis, his "many sides" comment was criticized by many Democratic and Republican members of Congress.[104][105][106][107][108] Whereas members of both political parties condemned the hatred and violence of white nationalists, neo-Nazis and alt-right activists, The New York Times noted Trump "was the only national political figure to spread blame for the 'hatred, bigotry and violence' that resulted in the death of one person to 'many sides'".[109]

The Congressional Black Caucus condemned Trump's alleged false equivalency and dog-whistle politics, saying "White supremacy is to blame."[106] Republican U.S. Representative Justin Amash and Senators Cory Gardner, Jeff Flake, Orrin Hatch, and Marco Rubio all called upon Trump to specifically condemn white supremacists and neo-Nazis; in a tweet that was retweeted by Flake, Gardner said: "Mr. President – we must call evil by its name. These were white supremacists and this was domestic terrorism."[106][110][111] Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring took the side of the left-wing protesters: "The violence, chaos, and apparent loss of life in Charlottesville is not the fault of 'many sides.' It is racists and white supremacists."[112]

Utah Republican Senator Orrin Hatch made a similar statement.[113][114] Republican senator Cory Gardner called it domestic terrorism in a tweet,[115] and a few hours later Republican senator Ted Cruz wrote on Facebook, "The Nazis, the KKK, and white supremacists are repulsive and evil, and all of us have a moral obligation to speak out against the lies, bigotry, anti-Semitism, and hatred that they propagate." He continued, "Having watched the horrifying video of the car deliberately crashing into a crowd of protesters, I urge the Department of Justice to immediately investigate and prosecute this grotesque act of domestic terrorism."[116]

Former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke responded that Trump should "take a good look in the mirror & remember it was White Americans who put you in the presidency, not radical leftists".[117][118][119] Other neo-Nazis and white supremacists did not object to Trump's remarks. Daily Stormer editor Andrew Anglin said "Trump did the opposite of cuck. He refused to even mention anything to do with us. When reporters were screaming at him about White Nationalism he just walked out of the room."[120]

Anthony Scaramucci, who had previously served as White House Communications Director under Trump, said Trump "would have needed to have been much harsher as it related to the white supremacists and the nature of that."[121] He went on to decry White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon's political beliefs on race relations, and their alleged influence on the statement, saying "the toleration of [white nationalism] by Steve Bannon is inexcusable".[122]

The NAACP released a demand, saying that while they "acknowledge and appreciate President Trump’s disavowment of the hatred which has resulted in a loss of life today", Trump now had to "take the tangible step to remove Steve Bannon – a well-known white supremacist leader – from his team of advisers". Opposing the right of white people to organize along racial lines (unlike the right of other racial groups to do so), the statement described Bannon as a "symbol of white nationalism" who "energizes that sentiment" through his current position within the White House.[123][124]

Left-wing political scientist Larry Sabato,[125] playwright Beau Willimon,[126] actor Mark Ruffalo,[126] and U.S. Representative Ted Lieu[126] also called for Bannon's firing. Two former federal government lawyers, Vanita Gupta and Richard Painter, who worked in the administrations of Barack Obama and George W. Bush respectively, demanded that both Bannon and Deputy Assistant to the President Sebastian Gorka be fired.[126][127]

Kenneth Frazier, the black CEO of Merck, resigned from the President's American Manufacturing Council on August 14, in reaction to the President's response to the rally.[128]

Trump's second statement

The President made a second statement on August 14 criticizing racism and fascism. However, many left-wing and mainstream media commenters thought these critical statements were not intense enough, or that they came too late. They demanded a stronger response, and an apology for the delay.[129][130] Trump then tweeted "Made additional remarks on Charlottesville and realize once again that the #Fake News Media will never be satisfied...truly bad people!"[131][132]

Trump's third statement

In an impromptu press conference in the lobby at Trump Tower, the President made a third statement on August 15. On this occasion he blamed some protesters on both sides for the violence. Trump said there were good and bad people on both sides. He said of the rally's organizers: "Not all of those people were neo-Nazis, believe me. Not all of those people were white supremacists by any stretch."[133] He described the far-left protesters as being members of the "very, very violent" Alt-left movement, equating them with the white supremacists and neo-Nazis on the right.[134] By most accounts, the violence perpetrated by the left-wing counter-protesters had exceeded that of the right-wing marchers. Among other claims, there were allegations that at least one far-left protester had carried out an acid attack.[135][136]

The third statement caused a furious reaction among political figures and online commenters, who disagreed with Trump's criticism of left-wing violence when they felt the far-right provocations were far more significant. Democratic politicians and right-of-center Republicans joined to condemn Trump. Nancy Pelosi wrote "The President's continued talk of blame 'on many sides' ignores the abhorrent evil of white supremacism..."[137] Speaker of the House Paul Ryan said, "White supremacy is repulsive. This bigotry is counter to all this country stands for. There can be no moral ambiguity."[138] Three House Democrats co-authored a motion to censure Trump for his "failure to immediately and specifically name and condemn the white supremacist groups responsible for actions of domestic terrorism," and for employing Steve Bannon and national security aide Sebastian Gorka despite their “ties to white supremacist movements.”[139] Marco Rubio launched a 6-part Twitter condemnation of Trump. Senator Brian Schatz wrote: "As a Jew, as an American, as a human, words cannot express my disgust and disappointment. This is not my President."[140]

The generally left-wing social aggregation website Reddit hosted many threads to condemn the President. In these threads, the far left activists were compared with allied soldiers during World War Two. The President's statement was supported on alt-right forums, however.

Many CEOs on the President's American Manufacturing Council and the Strategy and Policy Forum criticized Trump for criticizing the Antifa or alt-left activists, with several resigning in protest.[141] Trump then dissolved both advisory councils on August 16, thanking the former members for their service.[142]

Fourth statement

At a Phoenix, Arizona rally on August 22, 2017, Trump accused activists of "trying to take away our culture" by demolishing statues.[143]

"I see they want to take Teddy Roosevelt's down too. They're trying to figure out why, they don't know. They're trying to take away our culture, they're trying to take away our history. And our weak leaders, they do it overnight."[144]

Trump declined to discuss the matter any further after this statement. Opinions between left and right-wing commentators remained intensely polarized.

Further events

Far-right protester Christopher Cantwell was charged with assault and arrested, though he claimed his prosecution was politically motivated. Black left-wing counterprotester DeAndre Harris was arrested and charged with attacking rally attendees, though he claimed it was in self defense.

Other rallies had been held in Charlottesville by some of the same right-wing protesters as early as April 2017, and additional small protests occurred later, including on October 7, 2017.[8][145] These resembled flash mobs.

Plans by the original organizers and others to hold a 2018 Unite the Right rally were blocked when Charlottesville authorities denied them permits to do so, citing public safety issues. However, the organizers vowed to march anyway around the anniversary of the original event, claiming it's a matter of civil rights.[146]

References

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