Right wing extremists representing a multitude of U. S. white nationalist organizations descended on the quiet college town of Charlottesville, Virginia over last weekend sparking extensive violence that sadly resulted in 3 deaths and many more injuries. That rally was promoted as “Unite the Right” and promoters used the removal of a Robert E. Lee statue in the city as a focal point of attention.
It began Friday night, August 11, with a highly provocative torchlight parade through the University of Virginia campus, a scene startlingly reminiscent of similar events in the pre-World War II era Nazi Germany:
The Parade (CBS News 0:41)
On Saturday, August 12, helmeted white nationalists carrying shields and even firearms, attacked counter-protesters with clubs, racial insults, chemical sprays and even a car that killed one person.
The Violence (CBS News, 4:11)
And while Virginia’s governor and the Charlottesville mayor appealed for calm and tried to restore order, President Trump issued a tardy and lukewarm condemnation of the violence, misplacing blame on both the white nationalists and the counter-protesters equally.
Trump’s Response (BBC News 0:53)
During the violence, David Duke, a white nationalist leader, and known for his former association with the KKK, issued statements that stoked the fires of racial hatred and controversy even further. Saying that he and his fellow protesters were simply heeding President Trump goal of “taking back the country,” he also reminded Trump that the alt-right movement put him in power.
David Duke (CNN 0:54)
Calls then erupted for President Trump to place the responsibility for this violence solely on white nationalists where it belongs, as well as removing any alt-right leaning people in his administration. Those calls have gone unheeded at the writing of this article. Criticisms of the president’s tepid response to this crisis came not only from Democrats and the Trump Resistance, but also from influential members of his own party.
The key remaining question is, will further violent clashes continue to inflame the United States without the President doing his level best to defuse this situation by, at the very least, taking the reasonable actions suggested to him.
For further details on this story, see the articles and videos listed below:
After Charlottesville Rally Ends in Violence, Alt-Right Vows to Return (Rolling Stone.com)