Republican Party of Virginia Chairman John Whitbeck said on Monday that he abhorred racism but he insisted that Civil War statues that remind so many of slavery in the United States should be left alone.
On Monday, President Donald Trump spoke out against the white supremacist groups he had failed to mention in his initial remarks about the violent clashes in Charlottesville, Virginia. Those clashes came after a group of white nationalists gathered in town to demonstrate against the remove of a statue of Confederate War General Robert E. Lee.
Whitbeck told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer that the one counter-protester who was killed and 20 others who were injured by an alleged white nationalist “was a tragedy beyond anything.”
“You can’t emphatically enough denounce these groups,” Whitbeck remarked. “I mean, you have to be as unequivocal as you can be. Our party has always stood for equal justice. And our Republican elected officials and our party leaders have been saying this message all along as Americans, as Virginians.”
Blitzer reminded the state GOP chair that the hate groups have been drawn to Charlottesville due to the pending removal of the Robert E. Lee statue.
“That has become a big issue. Where do you stand?” Blitzer asked. “Where does the Republican Party of Virginia stand on that Robert E. Lee statue?”
“I think our nominee for governor, Ed Gillespie, has spoken about this,” Whitbeck stuttered. “And we stand will our nominee 100 percent.”
“What is he saying?” Blitzer wondered.
“He has said he supports the history of Virginia in all its forms,” Whitbeck admitted. “You can’t just eradicate the bad parts of our history by just taking down statues. I think he’s right.”
“These people were not there about a statue,” he added. “They were there to spread their philosophy of hate and bigotry and racism. And it’s up to all of us in Virginia and Democrats and independents to stand against it 100 percent.”
“So you don’t think that statue should come down?” Blitzer pressed.
“I don’t think the statue should come down,” Whitbeck replied. “But that’s not the issue. The issue is really we have to stop this hatred. And I feel like we’re getting away from that when we talk about things like Confederate statues.”
Watch the video below from CNN.
News flash: Trump’s no racist!
The gap that Donald Trump continually shows us between word and deed is remarkable. He lets words hurt while ignoring the substance of what the words mean.
That public words that various people, from both in and out of government or politics, say about him seem to matter a whole lot more than actual events, scandals or bad governmental behavior reflecting on his presidency. We’re used to it by now, numb really, so, it seems useful to step back and look at the pattern.
Even so, his tweets on Sunday telling four rebellious first-year congresswomen, citizens who are all of color, that they should return to where they came from “to go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came” is an insult that crosses all borders. As it happens, three of the four are American-born, and Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Mich.) has been a naturalized citizen since age 12.
Morning Joe panel brutally dismantles Lindsey Graham for doubling down and backing Trump’s extreme racism
MSNBC's Joe Scarborough was left speechless by Sen. Lindsey Graham's impassioned defense of President Donald Trump's racist attacks on four Democratic congresswomen.
The "Morning Joe" host sat in stunned silence after rolling video of the South Carolina Republican defending Trump's tweets, and doubling down by hurling his own slurs against the first-year lawmakers.
"You call Americans in Congress communists?" Scarborough said, after gathering his thoughts, "and you say they hate America? And then your punch line to that is aim higher?"
Scarborough, who served alongside Graham as a Republican congressman, said the episode was a shameful new low for the veteran lawmaker.
Trump administration reopens dangerous ‘longline’ fishing off California
The Pacific leatherback sea turtle, at up to 2,200 pounds the largest turtle on earth, could disappear from our oceans, yet Trump regulators have OK’d a type of fishing that could wipe out the massive animals.
Pacific leatherback sea turtles are one of eight turtle species the Fisheries Service has identified as most at risk of extinction. The number of West Pacific leatherback sea turtles declined about 6% a year from the 1980s through 2011.