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Charlottesville Mayor Slams Trump After Deadly Protests

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Charlottesville, Virginia, Mayor Michael Signer has criticized President Donald Trump's response to the weekend's violent confrontation between white supremacists and their opponents that left one person dead and more than a dozen injured.

On Aug. 12, white nationalist demonstrators gathered in Charlottesville to protest the city's decision to take down a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee. Violent clashes ensued, and things took a tragic turn when a man rammed his car into a group of counter-protestors, killing one and injuring 19.

In a statement made from his private golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, Trump spoke out against the violence, but did not single out the white supremacists for criticism.

"We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides, on many sides," he said, according to CNN. "It has been going on for a long time in our country -- not Donald Trump, not Barack Obama. It has been going on for a long, long time. It has no place in America."

He went on to state that "no matter our color, creed, religion or political party, we are all Americans first."

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Speaking on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" on Aug. 14, Signer suggested that Trump has emboldened white supremacists.

"Look, I think some of this speaks for itself," he said, according to Politico. "We saw the campaign that they ran, we saw the folks they surround themselves, we saw what David Duke, you know, people like that say about the president."

"I think that Charlottesville is going to be synonymous with the nation at long last turning the page on this horrific chapter in American politics where bigots and, you know, the fringe of the fringe were invited into the mainstream, out from the shadows where they belonged," he added. "That, I think, just came to an end."

Signer also accused Trump of being an armchair quarterback when it comes to dealing with issues of bigotry and racism.

"He's been on the sidelines for so much in this country, for [what] working people need and for what a country that really needs to progress and heal and tell the truth about a lot of chapters in our history has been about," he said. "I think the nation is speaking with one voice on that."

Trump's remarks drew criticism from both sides of the aisle, with many Republicans blasting his response to the violence as inadequate.

"Mr. President -- we must call evil by its name," a Colorado Republican wrote on Twitter, according to CNN. "These were white supremacists and this was domestic terrorism."

Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida tweeted: "Very important for the nation to hear [the president] describe events in Charlottesville for what they are, a terror attack by white supremacists."

Scott Jennings, who acted as a special assistant to former President George W. Bush, said Trump's comments did not contain "the absolute moral clarity that we need from the President of the United States at times like this."

Sources: CNN, Politico / Featured Image: Center for American Progress Action Fund/Flickr / Embedded Images: Gage Skidmore/Flickr, Cville dog/Wikimedia Commons

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