On Tuesday, President Donald Trump denounced Nazis during a rambling press conference in which he said that not all people protesting with Nazis and white nationalists in Charlottesville, Va., were actually Nazis. During that same press conference, he said that "very bad people" on both sides — meaning the people who protested Nazis — deserved the blame.
Some Republicans singled out Trump. For the most part, they were ones who had already challenged him in the past, such as former rivals John Kasich and Marco Rubio.
The President has to condemn hate groups. This isn't about politics. https://t.co/9UqnfSmLRx
— John Kasich (@JohnKasich) August 16, 2017
Mr. President,you can't allow #WhiteSupremacists to share only part of blame.They support idea which cost nation & world so much pain 5/6
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) August 15, 2017
— WIS News 10 (@wis10) August 16, 2017
Additionally, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. — who was called out by Trump at the press conference for his vote on health care — urged the president to define the difference between racists and people who stood up against racism.
There's no moral equivalency between racists & Americans standing up to defy hate& bigotry. The President of the United States should say so — John McCain (@SenJohnMcCain) August 16, 2017
Other Republicans in an awkward position: How do you denounce what the president said without actually denouncing him? The answer was simple: denounce Nazis. After all, who could disagree with that?
We must be clear. White supremacy is repulsive. This bigotry is counter to all this country stands for. There can be no moral ambiguity.
— Paul Ryan (@SpeakerRyan) August 15, 2017
The hate and bigotry witnessed in #Charlottesville does not reflect American values. I wholeheartedly oppose their actions.
— Leader McConnell (@SenateMajLdr) August 12, 2017
Even so, having a conversation about white nationalists may be too extreme for some Republican senators.
— Jessie Opoien (@jessieopie) August 16, 2017