Politics: Mitt Romney urges Trump to apologize for Charlottesville reaction

Marchers honor Charlottesville victim at crash site

  Marchers honor Charlottesville victim at crash site Tensions remained high Sunday as the city and nation grappled with the aftermath of deadly violence between white nationalists defending a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee and opponents protesting white supremacist views. CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — Tensions remained high Sunday as the city and nation grappled with the aftermath of deadly violence between white nationalists defending a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee and opponents protesting white supremacist views.

In a Facebook post, Mitt Romney, a former Republican presidential candidate, rebuked President Trump. © Evan Vucci In a Facebook post, Mitt Romney, a former Republican presidential candidate, rebuked President Trump. Mitt Romney on Friday urged President Donald Trump to take "remedial action in the extreme" following Trump's response to violence at a white nationalist rally in Virginia last weekend.

Regardless of whether he intended it, Trump's words "caused racists to rejoice, minorities to weep, and the vast heart of America to mourn," the former Republican presidential nominee and Massachusetts governor wrote in a Facebook post. Romney called on the president to apologize for his remarks.

Charlottesville Fallout: Confederate Statues Coming Down in Lexington, Protests in Seattle

  Charlottesville Fallout: Confederate Statues Coming Down in Lexington, Protests in Seattle An American in Germany was punched in the face for making a Nazi salute.A vehicle drives into a group of protesters demonstrating against a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va., Saturday, Aug. 12, 2017.

"He should address the American people, acknowledge that he was wrong, apologize," Romney wrote. "State forcefully and unequivocally that racists are 100% to blame for the murder and violence in Charlottesville. Testify that there is no conceivable comparison or moral equivalency between the Nazis — who brutally murdered millions of Jews and who hundreds of thousands of Americans gave their lives to defeat — and the counter-protestors who were outraged to see fools parading the Nazi flag, Nazi armband and Nazi salute."

Romney's statement was among the most forceful issued by prominent Republicans following Trump's response to the rally. Other former Republican presidents and presidential nominees either directly or indirectly criticized Trump for his response.

Charlottesville police face critics as a tense city tries to regroup from deadly weekend

  Charlottesville police face critics as a tense city tries to regroup from deadly weekend REPORTING FROM CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. -- Expressions of grief and solidarity have played out again and again in other American cities struck by tragedy -- impromptu memorials of flowers and cards, prayers for the dead and injured, pledges of peace. But as Charlottesville police and residents tried to piece together what led to the bloody events at a "Unite the Right" rally of white nationalists, there was the inescapable sense Sunday that the violence that left three dead and dozens injured was somehow different from previous incidents. The chaos that spread at the rally Saturday involved dozens, not just some lone guy with a grudge.

"There's no moral equivalency between racists & Americans standing up to defy hate & bigotry. The President of the United States should say so," Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., wrote in a tweet Tuesday.

Presidents George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush — both of whom have said they did not vote for Trump — also issued a rare joint statement Wednesday condemning racism. They did not mention the president by name.

"America must always reject racial bigotry, anti-Semitism, and hatred in all forms," the Bushes said. "As we pray for Charlottesville, we are reminded of the fundamental truths recorded by that city's most prominent citizen in the Declaration of Independence: we are all created equal and endowed by our Creator with unalienable rights. We know these truths to be everlasting because we have seen the decency and greatness of our country."

Slideshow by photo services

America's neo-Nazis are raising money, planning more rallies

  America's neo-Nazis are raising money, planning more rallies White supremacists say they are just warming up. Violence at a neo-Nazi rally in Charlottesville, Va., this weekend served as only the latest data point on a dramatically escalating trend line of hate group activity. People fly into the air as a vehicle drives into a group of protesters demonstrating against a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va.,on Aug. 12, 2017.

On Saturday, a car allegedly driven by a suspected white nationalist rammed into a crowd of counterprotesters in Charlottesville, killing one woman and injuring many others. It followed skirmishes between the torch-bearing white nationalists and people demonstrating against them.

In a fiery Tuesday news conference, Trump appeared to suggest a moral equivalency between the groups, saying good and violent people gathered in both groups and "both sides" are to blame for the violence. He also contended that some of the people who marched with the white nationalists were not bad.

His comments drew rebukes from bipartisan lawmakers and sparked backlash from corporate America, as top executives started to leave advisory councils to the president before the groups were disbanded.

Here's Romney's full statement:

"I will dispense for now from discussion of the moral character of the president's Charlottesville statements. Whether he intended to or not, what he communicated caused racists to rejoice, minorities to weep, and the vast heart of America to mourn. His apologists strain to explain that he didn't mean what we heard. But what we heard is now the reality, and unless it is addressed by the president as such, with unprecedented candor and strength, there may commence an unraveling of our national fabric.

The leaders of our branches of military service have spoken immediately and forcefully, repudiating the implications of the president's words. Why? In part because the morale and commitment of our forces — made up and sustained by men and women of all races — could be in the balance. Our allies around the world are stunned and our enemies celebrate; America's ability to help secure a peaceful and prosperous world is diminished. And who would want to come to the aid of a country they perceive as racist if ever the need were to arise, as it did after 9/11?

In homes across the nation, children are asking their parents what this means. Jews, blacks, Hispanics, Muslims are as much a part of America as whites and Protestants. But today they wonder. Where might this lead? To bitterness and tears, or perhaps to anger and violence?

The potential consequences are severe in the extreme. Accordingly, the president must take remedial action in the extreme. He should address the American people, acknowledge that he was wrong, apologize. State forcefully and unequivocally that racists are 100% to blame for the murder and violence in Charlottesville. Testify that there is no conceivable comparison or moral equivalency between the Nazis — who brutally murdered millions of Jews and who hundreds of thousands of Americans gave their lives to defeat — and the counter-protestors who were outraged to see fools parading the Nazi flag, Nazi armband and Nazi salute. And once and for all, he must definitively repudiate the support of David Duke and his ilk and call for every American to banish racists and haters from any and every association.

This is a defining moment for President Trump. But much more than that, it is a moment that will define America in the hearts of our children. They are watching, our soldiers are watching, the world is watching. Mr. President, act now for the good of the country."

FBI, DHS report warned of threat posed by white supremacists .
In May, agencies found small cells within the white supremacist movement would continue to pose a threat over the next year 1/62 SLIDES © Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images Matthew Heinbach (L) of the white nationalist Traditionalist Workers Party shouts at journalists gathered outside the Charlottesville General District Court building August 14, 2017, in Charlottesville, Virginia. The court held a bond hearing for James Alex Fields, Jr. of Ohio, who is accused of driving his car into a crowd of people protesting against the Unite the Right rally.

See also