Trump condemns 'violence on many sides' in deadly Charlottesville unrest

The president said he was closely following today's events and he had just spoken with Virginia's governor.

BEDMINSTER -- President Donald Trump condemned the "egregious display of violence" in Charlottesville Saturday but stopped short of assessing blame in the violent clash between white nationalist demonstrators and counter-protestors. 

"We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry, and violence on many sides. On many sides," Trump said, speaking from a podium in a lavish ballroom at Trump National Golf Club that was converted into a bill-signing room

The president said he was closely following Saturday's unrest, which left one person dead, and that he had spoken with Virginia's governor. He said two agreed "the hate and the division must stop and it must stop right now."

"We have to heal the wounds of the country, these are wounds that have been going on a long time," Trump said. "We are going to make effort to make sure the healing procedure goes as quickly as possible. We are going to make America great again, but for all of the people."

The president's press conference was originally scheduled to announce the signing of the Veterans Affairs Choice and Quality Employment Act of 2017, which provides funding to expand a program allowing veterans to receive care from private medical facilities. 

Trump, who is on a 17-day working vacation at his New Jersey golf course, condemned "hate" in a tweet Saturday afternoon and urged residents to come together. 

Political pundits and activists, however, called on the president to specifically denounce the white nationalist movement after former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke said Saturday's rally was in line with Trump's campaign "promises." 

"This represents a turning point for the people of this country," said Duke, who endorsed Trump during his presidential campaign. "We are determined to take our country. We are going to fulfill the promises of Donald Trump. That's what we believed in. That's why we voted for Donald Trump because he said he's going to take our country back." 

Right-wing blogger Jason Kessler had called for what he termed a "pro-white" rally to protest the City of Charlottesville's decision to remove a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee from a downtown park.

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe declared a state of emergency by early afternoon as state police descended on downtown Charlottesville and ordered protesters to disperse. 

During the clash between right-wing groups and counter-protestors, a car plowed into a group speaking out against white nationalism, killing one and injuring an unknown number of people, according to authorities.

The crash occurred at about 2 p.m. 

White House officials said they had been spoken with the governor's office and McAuliffe's chief of staff, and the president's homeland security adviser is in contact with local authorities. 

Mayor Mike Singer urged people to go home in a tweet where he said he was "furious" and "heartsick" over the car crash that injured "many."

Craig McCarthy may be reached at 732-372-2078 or at CMcCarthy@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @createcraig and on Facebook here. Find NJ.com on Facebook.

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Article Trump condemns 'violence on many sides' in deadly Charlottesville unrest compiled by www.nj.com

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