WASHINGTON: Donald Trump has condemned the “egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence” in the US city of Charlottesville after violence erupted at a far-right rally – but has been criticised for not singling out white supremacists.
A 32-year-old woman was killed when a car ploughed into anti-fascist protesters opposing a major white nationalist march held over the weekend in Virginia. Nineteen other people were injured.
Eyewitnesses said the driver had deliberately rammed pedestrians.
While the president condemned the violence on “many sides”, he was accused of not going far enough and citing white nationalists.
This came despite the White House insisting his comments included all right-wing groups.
Violence erupted on Saturday after hundreds of white nationalists converged for a “Unite the Right” march, protesting against the removal of a statue of a general who had fought for the pro-slavery Confederacy during the US Civil War.
Demonstrators included neo-Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan.
An Ohio man, James Alex Fields Jr, 20, has been arrested over the death of the woman involving the car.
He has been charged with one count of second-degree murder, three counts of malicious wounding and one count of “hit and run attended failure to stop with injury”, police said.
Officials also announced the opening of a civil rights investigation into the killing.
The US president quickly appealed for calm at a press conference, insisting “the hate and the division must stop”.
But he declined to blame either side, and has since been criticised for not singling out white nationalists.
“We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides. It has no place in America,” he said.
Mr Trump called for Americans to come together “with love for our nation … and true affection for each other”.
“Above all else, we must remember this truth: No matter our colour, creed, religion, or political party, we are all Americans first,” he said.
Condolences to the family of the young woman killed today, and best regards to all of those injured, in Charlottesville, Virginia. So sad!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 12, 2017