Mitt Romney on Friday called for President Trump to apologize for his Charlottesville “both sides” comments and to put all the blame on white supremacists and none on the radical leftists who also acted violently.
Earlier this week, Trump explicitly condemned white supremacist groups by name, but said both sides were to blame for the violent clashes in Charlottesville, Virginia, last weekend. He also said there were innocents on both sides.
A man identified as a white supremacist drove his car into a crowd, killing a woman and injuring around 20 others. White supremacists and radical leftists threw punches, bottles and rocks at each other. They also used sticks and chemical sprays.
As The Daily Caller News Foundation reported, the white supremacists were attending a legally permitted “Unite the Right” rally at Emancipation Park to protest the City of Charlottesville’s decision to remove the statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee. The radical leftists had no legal permit, and were gathered on the street immediately in front of Emancipation Park.
Romney was the Republican nominee who lost to former President Obama in the 2012 presidential election.
I will dispense for now from discussion of the moral character of the president’s Charlottesville statements. Whether he intended to or not, what he communicated caused racists to rejoice, minorities to weep, and the vast heart of America to mourn. His apologists strain to explain that he didn’t mean what we heard. But what we heard is now the reality, and unless it is addressed by the president as such, with unprecedented candor and strength, there may commence an unraveling of our national fabric.
The leaders of our branches of military service have spoken immediately and forcefully, repudiating the implications of the president’s words. Why? In part because the morale and commitment of our forces–made up and sustained by men and women of all races–could be in the balance. Our allies around the world are stunned and our enemies celebrate; America’s ability to help secure a peaceful and prosperous world is diminished. And who would want to come to the aid of a country they perceive as racist if ever the need were to arise, as it did after 9/11?
In homes across the nation, children are asking their parents what this means. Jews, blacks, Hispanics, Muslims are as much a part of America as whites and Protestants. But today they wonder. Where might this lead? To bitterness and tears, or perhaps to anger and violence?
The potential consequences are severe in the extreme. Accordingly, the president must take remedial action in the extreme. He should address the American people, acknowledge that he was wrong, apologize. State forcefully and unequivocally that racists are 100% to blame for the murder and violence in Charlottesville. Testify that there is no conceivable comparison or moral equivalency between the Nazis–who brutally murdered millions of Jews and who hundreds of thousands of Americans gave their lives to defeat–and the counter-protestors who were outraged to see fools parading the Nazi flag, Nazi armband and Nazi salute. And once and for all, he must definitively repudiate the support of David Duke and his ilk and call for every American to banish racists and haters from any and every association.
This is a defining moment for President Trump. But much more than that, it is a moment that will define America in the hearts of our children. They are watching, our soldiers are watching, the world is watching. Mr. President, act now for the good of the country.