Vice President Mike Pence condemned white supremacist groups during an interview that aired Monday morning on NBC’s “Today” show after President Donald Trump faced criticism for his failure to use the term.
Trump was widely criticized for failing to name white supremacists or Nazis in his remarks about a violent protest in Charlottesville, Virginia, on Saturday. At a “Unite the Right” rally held by those groups protesting the removal of a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee, a protester allegedly drove his car into a crowd, killing one counter-protester and injuring 19 others, according to Politico.
Lawmakers described the incident as domestic terrorism.
In remarks Saturday about the events in Charlottesville, Trump said, “We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides, on many sides.”
"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,” Trump added.
Trump was criticized for failing to condemn Nazis and white supremacists by name. Multiple Republican senators, such as Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) called on Trump to “call evil by its name.”
Mr. President - we must call evil by its name. These were white supremacists and this was domestic terrorism. https://t.co/PaPNiPPAoW— Cory Gardner (@Cory Gardner)1502570669.0
Pence did condemn the groups by name in remarks to NBC, while defending Trump’s response to the violence.
"We will not tolerate hatred and violence of groups like white supremacists, the KKK, and neo-Nazis," Pence said. "These extremist, fringe groups have no place in the American debate, and we condemn them in the strongest possible terms."
Pence defended Trump’s remarks, arguing that the American people heard the president “speak plainly and condemn — in his words — in the strongest possible terms, organizations that convey hate and violence."
Pence said that he thinks "many in the media are spending more time criticizing how the president addressed the issue yesterday."
"Many in the media spent an awful lot of time focusing on what the president said and criticisms of what the president said instead of criticizing those who brought that hatred and violence to the streets of Charlottesville, Virginia," Pence said.
Asked if Trump should have specifically condemned white supremacists by name, Pence replied: "I think the president yesterday spoke to a national moment, words the American people needed to hear — that we condemn acts of violence, acts of hatred."
(H/T Washington Free Beacon)