One year after the deadly white supremacist demonstrations in Charlottesville, Virginia, the state’s former Democratic governor said President Donald Trump failed to live up to the moment.
“There’s a time in your presidency when you need to show moral leadership and you need to stand and send a message to the world,” Terry McAuliffe said Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “He failed that day.”
McAuliffe was governor when white nationalists marched through Charlottesville and clashed with counterprotesters, ultimately killing one of them, 32-year-old Heather Heyer, who was struck by a car driven by a suspected white nationalist. Trump was widely criticized for his response, in which he said “both sides” were to blame for the violence, equating the white nationalists with the counterprotesters.
Far-right groups are holding another rally Sunday, dubbed “Unite the Right 2,” this time in the nation’s capital. The rally is being billed as a “white civil rights rally” meant to protest “civil rights abuse in Charlottesville.”
In a tweet over the weekend, Trump said he condemned “all types of racism and acts of violence.”
McAuliffe said in his CNN interview that he spoke with Trump last year during the chaos of that weekend.
“I talked to the President that afternoon, explained him the situation, what had been going on, what these people were doing in the city of Charlottesville,” McAuliffe said. “And when he came out and gave his statement that it was both sides’ fault, I gotta tell you, it was shocking to me. It wasn’t both sides.”
He recalled seeing neo-Nazis and white supremacists demonstrating in his state that weekend and took issue with Trump’s “both sides” comment last year.
“The other side were the folks who were protesting against hatred, like Heather Heyer,” McAuliffe said.