Former presidential candidate Mitt Romney pressed President Donald Trump to apologize for his comments made following the tragedy in Charlottesville, Virginia.
“Whether he intended to or not, what he communicated caused racists to rejoice, minorities to weep, and the vast heart of America to mourn,” Romney wrote in a Facebook post on Friday morning. “His apologists strain to explain that he didn’t mean what we heard. But what we heard is now the reality, and unless it is addressed by the president as such, with unprecedented candor and strength, there may commence an unraveling of our national fabric.”
Romney called this opportunity for President Trump to set the nation straight be denouncing racism and apologizing for the passiveness of his initial comments as a “defining moment” for the president.
On Saturday, a group of white nationalists gathered in Charlottesville as part of the “Unite the Right.” Around 1:45 p.m. EST, a car plowed into a group of counterprotesters at the rally. One person in that crowd was killed — Heather D. Heyer, 32 — as well as two troopers, Lt. H. Jay Cullen and Trooper Berke M. M. Bates, in a helicopter that crashed. There were 19 injured in the attack.
President Trump addressed the nation following the violent act expressing condolences to those harmed and thanking the law enforcement.
We must remember this truth: No matter our color, creed, religion or political party, we are ALL AMERICANS FIRST. pic.twitter.com/FesMiQSKKn
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 12, 2017
However, President Trump also upset people on both sides of the issue when he said, “I think there is blame on both sides.”
When asked about why he waited so long to denounce neo-Nazis, President Trump explained that he was waiting to get the facts straight. According to Politico, Trump said:
“I didn’t wait long. I wanted to make sure, unlike most politicians, that what I said was correct, not make a quick statement. The statement I made on Saturday, the first statement, was a fine statement, but you don’t make statements that direct unless you know the fact. And it takes a little while to get the facts. You still don’t know the facts. And it is a very, very important process to me. It is a very important statement. So I don’t want to go quickly and just make a statement for the sake of making a political statement. I want to know the facts. If you go back to my statement, in fact I brought it.”