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A Second White House Statement on Virginia Is Also Found Wanting 

click to enlarge A white nationalist carries a Nazi flag during a protest in Charlottesville, Va., Aug. 12, 2017. The White House, under siege over President Trump’s initial comments, on Sunday condemned “white supremacists” for inciting violence that left a woman dead Saturday. - EDU BAYER/THE NEW YORK TIMES
  • Edu Bayer/The New York Times
  • A white nationalist carries a Nazi flag during a protest in Charlottesville, Va., Aug. 12, 2017. The White House, under siege over President Trump’s initial comments, on Sunday condemned “white supremacists” for inciting violence that left a woman dead Saturday.

By GLENN THRUSH and REBECCA R. RUIZ
© 2017 New York Times News Service

BRIDGEWATER, N.J. — White House officials, under siege over President Donald Trump’s reluctance to condemn white supremacists for the weekend’s bloody rallies in Charlottesville, Virginia, tried to clarify his comments Sunday, as critics in both parties intensified demands that he adopt a stronger, more unifying message.

A statement Sunday — issued more than 36 hours after the protests began — condemned “white supremacists” for the violence that led to one death. It came in an email sent to reporters in the president’s traveling press pool, and was attributed to an unnamed representative.

It was not attributed directly to Trump, who often uses Twitter to communicate directly on controversial topics. It also did not single out “white supremacists” alone but instead included criticism of “all extremist groups.”

The email was sent “in response” to questions about Trump’s remarks, in which he blamed the unrest “on many sides” while speaking Saturday before an event for military veterans at his golf resort in Bedminster, New Jersey, where the president is on vacation.

“The president said very strongly in his statement yesterday that he condemns all forms of violence, bigotry and hatred,” the statement said. “Of course that includes white supremacists, KKK neo-Nazi and all extremist groups. He called for national unity and bringing all Americans together.”

Trump’s reluctance to speak out with force and moral indignation against the white nationalists who incited the most serious racial incident of his presidency elicited deep feelings of disappointment spanning the ideological spectrum.

“I think what you saw here was a real moment in our nation for our leaders to deal with this moral issue as one country, as people all over the world watched,” said Gov. Terry McAuliffe of Virginia.

Trump’s “words were not — not — what this nation needs,” said McAuliffe, a Democrat.

Gov. John Kasich of Ohio, a Republican and a frequent critic of Trump, cautioned against reading too much into the president’s initial response but called for the White House to use the incident as an opportunity to convene “a national discussion” on race, prejudice and community policing.

Trump will continue to receive regular updates from his team, according to the official to whom the statement was attributed, and Thomas P. Bossert, White House Homeland Security adviser, was in Bedminster monitoring the situation.

Slideshow Clashes in Charlottesville
Clashes in Charlottesville 9 slides
Clashes in Charlottesville Clashes in Charlottesville Clashes in Charlottesville Clashes in Charlottesville Clashes in Charlottesville Clashes in Charlottesville Clashes in Charlottesville Clashes in Charlottesville
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — The city of Charlottesville was engulfed by violence Saturday as white nationalists and counterprotesters clashed in one of the bloodiest fights to date over the removal of Confederate monuments across the South.

White nationalists had long planned a demonstration over the city’s decision to remove a statue of Robert E. Lee. But the rally exploded into racial taunting, shoving and outright brawling, prompting the governor to declare a state of emergency and the National Guard to join police in clearing the area. (Via the New York Times)

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