“Let there be no confusion: this was deliberate terrorism.”
The United States of America is still shocked about the violent clashes in Charlottesville, Virginia the led to a car being used to attack a group of anti-racism protesters. Brennan Gilmore, a witness to the attack, recorded the car accelerating towards the crowd then hastily reversing out of the area. He posted the video to Twitter. We urge viewer discretion as the video is violent.
The driver of the vehicle has been identified as James Alex Fields Jr., who was photographed earlier in the day among the white supremacists and neo-Nazis at the “Unite the Right” rally protesting the removal of a Robert E. Lee statue in the city. Those Fields attacked were counter-protesters. Fields is currently in custody.
According to The New York Times, the attack on the counter-protesters happened at 1:45 p.m. local time and resulted in the death of one woman, Heather Heyer.
A man named Tommy, an organizer for the Richmond, Virginia chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) who spoke to ABC News on partial anonymity, says the kind of hatred and racism that was broadcast to the world is nothing new. Tommy was in the crowd that was struck by the car and survived the incident. He told ABC News that as a Latino living in the south, what happened isn’t surprising.
“I hate to break it to people who might not know it, but this kind of hate has always been in America,” he told ABC News about the violent clashes in Charlottesville. He added that the solidarity demonstrations that popped up around the country after the assault gave him hope.
“Yesterday was the both the happiest and most terrifying day of my life,” he said. “If people want to know how to help the people in the south who are dealing with it in a very visceral way, they should work in their own communities – organize locally.”
President Trump gave a brief statement the same day as the attack but his response has been widely considered a failure of leadership for not denouncing the white supremacist, neo-Nazi and racist groups behind the violent attacks directly.
“We’re closely following the terrible events unfolding in Charlottesville, Virginia,” Trump told the press. “We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence — on many sides, on many sides. It’s been going on for a long time in our country. Not Donald Trump, not Barack Obama. This has been going on for a long, long time.”
A White House spokesperson later clarified that Trump was referring to the counter-protest as one of the sides inciting violence and hatred, according to CNN.
People took to social media to air their grievance against the president’s original comments.
For someone who's had an opinion on the most asinine shit, @realDonaldTrump, your silence on NAZI protests in VA is deafening and noted. ??
— Wilson Cruz (@wcruz73) August 12, 2017
Trump is known to take things to Twitter and publicly calling out people he is arguing with, whether it is fellow Republicans or North Korea. However, after a tiki torch filled rally on the University of Virginia campus and the vicious attack on counter-protesters, Trump stayed silent on Twitter.
Others saw it as par for the course in terms of race relations in the country.
none of it is antiquated. we are not brand new.
— Tessa Thompson (@TessaThompson_x) August 13, 2017
There have been numerous reported incidents of KKK and neo-Nazi resurgence since President Trump was elected in November 2016. Not only have there been KKK marches, members of the white supremacy group have expressly admitted that their actions are a direct result of Trump’s victory and a way of fulfilling his campaign promises.
Jorge Ramos dropped facts that show an increase in hate groups in the U.S.
The number of hate groups in the U.S. went from 784 in 2014 to 917 in 2016 (Southern Poverty Law Center). What happened in 2016?
— JORGE RAMOS (@jorgeramosnews) August 12, 2017
According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, there was a dramatic increase in hate groups across the country.
Wendy Carrillo, a fixture in Los Angeles politics, recounted a Twitter feud she had with former KKK Grand Wizard David Duke in March.
When David Duke started tweeting at me during my CA34 race, what we didn’t share with the public were the hostile…
“Trump’s failure to denounce white supremacy is reprehensible, but not surprising,” Carrillo wrote on Facebook following the attack. “We are all too familiar with the realities of what is happening because our communities have been fighting against injustice longer than I’ve been alive. Today’s events are a reminder, a jolt, of what many have been saying is the reality of hate in this country. This is not the moment to be passive or moderate, this is a moment to accept the reality of institutional racism that plagues our nation.”
Republican strategist and commentator Ana Navarro has never shied away from calling out Trump’s shortcomings.
— Ana Navarro (@ananavarro) August 12, 2017
It has been reported by numerous sources that Trump’s base is largely populated by white supremacists.
Even Republican politicians that have typically voted in favor of the Trump agenda have spoken up against the president’s weak tone, including Ted Cruz.
It’s tragic and heartbreaking to see hatred and racism once again mar our great Nation with bloodshed. Heidi’s and my…
“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,” Ted Cruz wrote on Facebook. “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.”
Even Marco Rubio denounced the actions in Charlottesville by calling the groups out by name.
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) August 12, 2017
Some people have criticized Cruz and Rubio as posturing for a 2020 return. Trump did give it another go and denounced the groups by name, but for many it is too late. Two days too late.