All About Politics: Charlottesville

The awful events in Charlottesville called for politicians and public figures to be clear in their words.

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Gov. Terry McAuliffe meets with members of the Charlottesville Police Department. Courtesy Terry McAuliffe.

The awful events in Charlottesville called for politicians and public figures to be clear in their words and to express these sentiments in the strongest of terms.

The hate of white supremacists and neo-Nazis has no place in Virginia or anywhere in this country.

Not using those words and not stating these views is cowardly and totally inexcusable.

Donald Trump couldn’t bring himself to use the proper words. He called it an “egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides.”

That purposefully murky statement fell woefully short of what a leader should say. He did everything he could not to mention the terms white nationalist or neo-Nazi.

His own daughter Ivanka Trump said on Twitter: “There should be no place in society for racism, white supremacy and neo-Nazis.”

Those were the words that the President of the United States should have immediately said. During the presidential campaign, you will recall how long it took him to disavow former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke.

He first said he didn’t know him (as if that excused or justified his silence).

Gov. Terry McAuliffe said and did all the right things. He told the “haters” to leave the state.

Republican candidate for governor Ed Gillespie at first used the words “vile hate,” but did not include the words “white nationalists.” Only after responding to David Ramadan, a former Republican member of the Virginia House of Delegates, did Gillespie use the words neo-Nazi and white supremacist.

In his initial message, Ramadan was direct in his criticism of Gillespie’s original statement: “It’s a terrorist attack, Ed; not just a loss of life. Time to call things as they are.”

“Calling things as they are” was definitely not what Corey Stewart had in mind. The Confederate-loving chair of the Board of Supervisors of Prince William County said there was “no reason to apologize.”

He went on to say that those people (that is, neo-Nazis, etc.) have “nothing to do with the Republican Party.” This is the same guy who attended several news conferences with Jason Kessler during the Republican primary.

Kessler is the white supremacist who is against removing the Robert E. Lee statue in a Charlottesville park. Kessler’s “Unite the Right” group is the group that caused the troubles.

Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam was in Charlottesville along with McAuliffe and Attorney General Mark Herring. He spoke eloquently and with great passion at the church service.

His words were unmistakable in their meaning: “We come to you to reassure you that the Commonwealth of Virginia and all of us that are in this together, will not and do not condone white supremacy.”

Charlottesville and what happened there will not go away. It will and should be an issue in the campaign for Governor.

Senator Orin Hatch did not hesitate to respond the way this president should have. Hatch said: “We should call evil by its name. My brother didn’t give his life fighting Hitler for Nazi ideas to go unchallenged here at home.”

Political analyst and Georgetowner columnist Mark Plotkin is a contributor to the BBC on American politics and a contributor to thehill.com. Reach him at markplotkindc@gmail.com.

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