Pres Trump’s remarks on violent Virginia protests expose deep divisions

World Today

President Donald Trump reaches into his suit jacket for a piece of paper with the quote he made on Saturday regarding the events in Charlottesville, Va., as he speaks to the media in the lobby of Trump Tower, Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2017. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

President Donald Trump’s remarks regarding the deadly protests in Charlottesville, Virginia have exposed deep racial divisions stretching far into history.

Among those urging peace is the family of the protester who was killed in Virginia.

CGTN’s Toby Muse has more.

It was a poignant moment for a country raw with emotion.

A memorial service was held Wednesday for Heather Heyer, the 32-year-old woman killed last Saturday in Charlottesville, Virginia, after a car plowed into a crowd during a clash between white supremacists and counter-protesters.

Heyer’s mother pleaded with the country to fight racist groups.

“They tried to kill my child to shut her up. Well, guess what, you just magnified her,” said Susan Bro, Heyer’s mother.

The weekend violence centered on a statue of Robert E. Lee, a leading figure in the south’s rebellion in America’s civil war 150 years ago.

Far-right groups descended on Charlottesville to protest a plan to take down the monument.

Fearing repetition of a similar confrontation, cities around the U.S. are removing their own Confederate statues.

Baltimore took four down Tuesday night. There are an estimated 1500 memorials scattered across the country.

Many in the U.S. believe the chaos in Charlottesville was not helped by comments made shortly after by President Trump who blamed both the white nationalists and the counter-protesters.

“They came at each other with clubs and it was vicious and it was horrible and it was a horrible thing to watch, but there is another side,” said Trump on Tuesday. “There was a group on this side – you can call them the left, you’ve just called them the left – that came violently attacking the other group, so you can say what you want but that’s the way it is.”

Trump’s comments Tuesday exposed the divisions across the country. They also split his own party.

Former presidential candidate John McCain tweeted: “There’s no moral equivalency between racists & Americans standing up to defy hate & bigotry. The President of the United States should say so.”

Critics of Trump said his recent outburst is just the latest in a line of racially charged comments going back to when Trump announced he was running for president in 2015.

In one speech, he said: “They’re bringing drugs, they’re bringing crime, they’re rapists.”

In his first month as president, he announced he wanted to ban visitors from mainly Muslim countries.

Trump has denounced neo-Nazis. Yet, the far-right said it’s emboldened under Trump’s presidency.

Meanwhile, Trump’s own supporters said that instead of unifying America, he is aggravating an already emotional issue.

Laura Schwartz discusses the fallout from Trump’s Charlottesville remarks

CGTN’s Elaine Reyes spoke with Laura Schwartz about Donald Trump’s comments on Charlottesville violence. Schwartz is a fmr. White House director of events.