White House: Trump's condemnation includes 'white supremacists, KKK, neo-Nazi and all extremist groups'

The White House said when Trump condemned violence in Charlottesville that 'of course that includes white supremacists,

The White House said in a statement Sunday that when President condemned "all forms of violence, bigotry and hatred" that were on display in Charlottesville this weekend "of course that includes white supremacists, KKK, Neo-Nazi and all extremist groups."

The White House's clarification stopped far short of what a growing number of have urged the president to do: directly call out and condemn white supremacy.

And three of 's top advisers appeared on Sunday morning news shows to defend the vague statement that the president delivered the previous afternoon at his private golf club in New Jersey, although their messaging shifted as the morning progressed. Ivanka Trump, the president's eldest daughter and a top adviser, broke with her father's messaging Sunday morning to tweet: "There should be no place in society for racism, white supremacy and neo-nazis."

National security adviser H.R. McMaster said on News that the president was "very clear" in his statement and "called out anyone, anyone who is responsible for fomenting this kind of bigotry, hatred, racism and violence." Later in the morning, McMaster added on NBC News that it "ought to be clear to all Americans" that Trump's comments about bigotry and hatred included white supremacists and neo-Nazis. He also said that he considers the death of a counterprotester in Charlottesville on Saturday an act of terrorism.

CIA Director Mike Pompeo said on CBS News that the president was "specific," "very clear" and, "frankly, pretty unambiguous" in responding to the violence. He added: "When someone marches with a Nazi flag, that is unacceptable, but I think that's what the president's saying."

And Tom Bossert, Trump's homeland security adviser, who has been in direct contact with Charlottesville authorities, repeatedly praised the president on CNN for not naming the groups that were involved and instead focusing on an overarching call for Americans to love one another. Bossert said that people "on both sides" showed up in Charlottesville "looking for trouble" and that he won't assign blame for the death of a counterprotester on either group, although he said the president would like to see "swift justice" for the victim. After repeated questioning, Bossert did say that he personally condemns "white supremacists and Nazi groups that espouse this sort of terrorism and exclusion." He did not say whether the president agrees with him on that.

"The president not only condemned the violence and stood up at a time and a moment when calm was necessary and didn't dignify the names of these groups of people, but rather addressed the fundamental issue," Bossert said on CNN's "State of the Union." "And so . . . what you need to focus on is the rest of his statement."

While Bossert acknowledged that white supremacy is a problem in the country, he quickly shifted to talking about the greater threat of "a global jihadi terrorist problem." This is a common tactic used by the Trump administration, which considered refocusing the government's Countering Violent Extremism program on Islamist groups, not white supremacists, and has proposed slashing funding for the program. A recent study found that between 2008 and 2016, the number of designated terrorist attacks on U.S. soil carried out by right-wing extremist groups, including white supremacists, outnumbered those carried out by Islamists by 2 to 1.

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Article White House: Trump's condemnation includes 'white supremacists, KKK, neo-Nazi and all extremist groups' compiled by www.chicagotribune.com

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