Congressman Yarmuth responds to President Trump's remarks on Charlottesville
Congressman John Yarmuth (KY-03) has written a letter to President Donald Trump in response to his latest remarks on the tragedy in Charlottesville.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB/AP) -- Congressman John Yarmuth (KY-03) has written a letter to President Donald Trump in response to his latest remarks on the tragedy in Charlottesville.
During those remarks at a press conference on Tuesday, Trump blamed "both sides" for the weekend violence between white supremacists and counterdemonstrators in Virginia. In doing so, Trump used the bullhorn of the presidency to give voice to the grievances of white nationalists, and aired some of his own.
The angry exchange with reporters at his skyscraper hotel in New York City laid bare a reality of the Trump presidency: Trump cannot be managed by others or steered away from damaging political land mines. His top aides were stunned by his comments, with some - including new chief of staff John Kelly - standing by helplessly as the president escalated his rhetoric.
Standing in the lobby of Trump Tower, Trump acknowledged that there were "some very bad people" among those who gathered to protest Saturday. But he added: "You also had people that were very fine people, on both sides."
In his remarks, Trump also condemned bigoted ideology and called James Alex Fields Jr., who drove his car into a crowd of counterprotesters, killing 32-year-old, Heather Heyer, "a disgrace to himself, his family and his country."
The text of Yarmuth's letter appears below, and a copy can be found here.
I am depressed and horrified that I must once again respond to your position on the Charlottesville incident. However, as an elected official, like you, who has sworn to preserve and protect the Constitution, I cannot be silent when you violate your oath of office.
Your comments yesterday were truly deplorable (yes, I went there), but I confess you were right about one thing: there were two sides to the Charlottesville story. Sadly and inexplicably, you refused to take sides. One side was standing up for American values; the other was subverting our democracy. By suggesting that blame for the incident was shared, you ignored the most critical point: American citizens committed to the denial of rights and freedoms for their fellow citizens were openly marching through an American city, making a mockery of the foundational principles of the country.
You appear to be focused on the physical battle in Charlottesville, which was horrible, and in the case of the murder of Heather Heyer, tragic. But the question of which group was more violent is meaningless. The issue is which group deserves the unequivocal denunciation of the leader of the free democracy of the United States. On that question you have failed your fellow citizens and violated the pledge you made on January 20th.
Please be assured that I will never become inured to your degradation of the Presidency, and I will continue to speak out each time you undermine our democracy.
As the White House struggled to weather Trump's comments, a White House official said Wednesday that longtime Trump aide Hope Hicks would temporarily serve as White House communications director.
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