'Racism Is Evil': Trump Blasts White Supremacists from Charlottesville Riots
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WASHINGTON – Charlottesville, Virginia is recovering today after a weekend of brutal violence between a group of white supremacists and people protesting their rally.
President Trump condemned the violence over the weekend, but faced media backlash because he didn't label specific hate groups in his comments.
Monday, Trump addressed the weekend violence again, clearly going after the racists who fueled the violence.
He called it an "egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence," specifically condemning the KKK, neo-Nazis and white supremacists.
The president also said he met today with new FBI Director Christopher Wray and Attorney General Jeff Sessions and is calling for a civil rights investigation.
Cities across the country are now rallying for unity and prayers for the victims and their families, including Heather Heyer, a 32-year-old paralegal who died when a car rammed into the counter-protestors, and two veteran troopers, Jay Cullen and Berk Bates, who were killed in a helicopter crash while responding to the violence.
"Heather's life was not about hate. And this young man who ran my daughter down mistakenly believed that hate would change the world," her mother Susan Bro said.
New information has emerged about the man accused of driving his car into that crowd of people, killing Heyer and injuring more than a dozen other people.
The driver was 20-year-old James Fields, Jr. who has since been charged with murder.
Fields' mother, Samantha Bloom, said she knew her son was driving from his home in Ohio to Virginia for a rally but had few details.
"I didn't know it was white supremacists. I thought, it had something to do with Trump. But Trump's not a white supremacist," Bloom said.
But a former teacher of Fields said he made pro-Nazi comments in high school.
"He felt that whites were superior," said Derek Weimer. "He felt that the views that Adolf Hitler espoused were correct in some way."
On Sunday, President Trump's National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster was direct in calling the violence terrorism.
"I certainly think any time that you commit an attack against people to incite fear, it is terrorism," McMaster told ABC News.
President Trump first spoke out against the violence Saturday.
"We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides," he said.
But both Republicans and Democrats criticized Trump for not specifically condemning white supremacists and related groups.
"Of course that includes white supremacists, K.K.K., neo-Nazi and all extremist groups," the White House later said.
Many Christian leaders also blasted the white nationalists and their ideas.
Beth Moore tweeted, "We cannot renounce what we will not name. It's called White Supremacy. And it is from hell. Call it. Condemn it."
Franklin Graham also took to Twitter, posting, "It is such a tragedy—life was lost and many people were injured in VA. Violence and hatred aren't the answer."
Other Christian leaders spoke out against the violence and racism as well, while encouraging a message of God's love for all people.
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