Kaine and Warner: Trump Showed ‘Complete Lack of Moral Leadership’ in Charlottesville Response

During Friday’s Democratic Weekly Address, Virginia Democratic Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine criticized President Trump’s response to the violence in Charlottesville, saying the president showed “a complete lack of moral leadership” drew a “flat-out wrong” “moral equivalency” between white supremacists and counter-protesters.

Transcript (via Federal News Service) as Follows:

WARNER: “We were horrified by the events that unfolded in Charlottesville last weekend. Our hearts go out to the families and friends of Heather Heyer, and Virginia State Troopers Berke Bates and Jay Cullen. We also pray for healing for those who were injured.”

KAINE: “I spent time in Charlottesville this week in the wake of the violence and I was inspired by the spirit and strength that I saw from the community as it tries to heal. Charlottesville is a vibrant and loving community, and people who seek to try and shatter that are going to find that they’re not going to be able to.”

WARNER: “Senator Kaine and I both have had the privilege of serving as Virginia’s Governor. And we’ve both learned that an essential element of leadership is an ability to help those we serve to ‘summon their higher angels’ in times of challenge and tragedy. And that’s what is so distressing about the President’s comments this week. A leader’s role is to bring people together — not tear them apart. The President failed to unify our country.”

KAINE: “There was a complete lack of moral leadership from the President this week, as he was unwilling to unequivocally call out bigotry for what it is. Let’s be clear: the violence in Charlottesville was fueled by one side: white supremacists spreading their intolerant message of racism, anti-Semitism and intimidation. Those are the facts. The ideologies of white supremacists, Neo-Nazis, the KKK, and hate groups have no place in our Commonwealth or country. Our nation’s leaders need to call out racist and hateful speech, promote diversity, and work on ways to combat hate-based crimes.”

WARNER: “It was flat-out wrong for the President of the United States – not once, but twice — to suggest a moral equivalency between the actions of white supremacists from outside of Virginia and mostly local residents who mounted a counter protest to support human and civil rights. Saying both sides were equally to blame is not leadership. That’s not what mayors, governors and presidents do in times of crisis. The President has emboldened the few on the fringes. And his words have offended those of us who want nothing to do with racism and hate, in any of its forms.”

KAINE: “We call ourselves a Commonwealth because the word signifies community. It’s who we are. Virginia is a state with a lot of scar tissue. We’ve experienced hatred. We’ve experienced division. We’ve experienced racism. We have grown out of racial hatred and are now a more diverse and open society. We won’t let anyone take us back to the days of hatred and bigotry. We will not go back.

Senator Mark Warner (D-VA): The violence that occurred in Charlottesville has no place in the United States of America in 2017. We appreciate the outpouring of support and solidarity we’ve seen around the world for the people of Charlottesville and Virginia. Dr. Martin Luther King, Junior said, ‘Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.'”

KAINE: “So we urge you to continue to step-up and stand-up for the things that do matter: for human and civil rights, for justice, and for equal opportunity for all. Thanks so much.”

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett


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