Some Republicans are too afraid to call out Donald Trump by name after defending Nazi rally participants

While Republicans were quick to denounce Nazis, few GOPers spoke out against the president's defense of them

Published August 16, 2017 12:32PM (EDT)

 (AP Photo/Morry Gash, File)
(AP Photo/Morry Gash, File)

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.

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.

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? 

Even so, having a conversation about white nationalists may be too extreme for some Republican senators.

By Michael Glassman

Michael Glassman is on Salon’s Breaking News team. You can find him on Twitter at @warnkemg

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Charlotteville Nazi President Donald Trump Racism Republican Party Terrorism White Supremacist Words