President Trump’s “statement” regarding the terrorist attacks by white supremacist groups in Charlottesville was weak, biased and ignorant. The alt-right is dangerously anti-American. These groups should be outlawed as the terrorist organizations they are. They use violence and hate speech to promote policies that fly in the face of the Constitution.
During the campaign, Mr. Trump repeatedly incited such people and encouraged them to act out their racist, anti-American agenda. Now they have. The blame for alt-right lawlessness lies at Mr. Trump’s feet.
As I watched television coverage of the Charlottesville riot, I saw violent racists push back repeatedly against peaceful counterdemonstrators and against state police officers as the officers tried to clear the crowd. Mr. Trump neglected to mention those actions in his tone-deaf comments. Mr. Trump, it seems, favors no-holds-barred, super-strict law enforcement only when the protesters are African Americans or non-Trump supporters. We heard no mention about “law and order” from Trump when his alt-right supporters were not properly arrested for resisting lawful orders from police officers.
People who were involved in peaceful protest against self-proclaimed Nazis, the Ku Klux Klan and other alt-right terrorists were mowed down by one terrorist driving into the crowd. And all Mr. Trump offered up is that many sides are wrong. Americans need to hear the president say that the violence and hatred expressed by these radical anti-American groups has no place in our country. We need to hear him say he does not support such groups, and we need to hear him call them by their proper name.
D.L. Sochurek, Culpeper
Donald Trump, as candidate and as president, has played an instrumental role in fostering the ramp-up of public displays of hatred, division, racism, bigotry and violence by the Ku Klux Klan, skinheads, white supremacists and the alt-right with his incendiary remarks at rallies, his proposed Muslim ban, his characterization of immigrants as rapists and thugs and his selection of close advisers. Now he pretends to condemn the results, such as the violence in Charlottesville on Saturday? Please. Mr. President, the people you have unleashed know you are still with them unless and until you get rid of their representatives in your own White House.
Duane Hybertson, Charlottesville
As a 1972 graduate of Washington and Lee University and a lifelong student of the Civil War, I am appalled by the right-wing protests over the removal of the statue of Robert E. Lee in Charlottesville. First of all, I seriously doubt whether many members of those right-wing groups really know that much about Lee. When, in late August 1865, Lee assumed the presidency of Washington College, now Washington and Lee University, he laid aside his sword and assumed the mantle of educator. He believed it was the duty of all — Northerners and Southerners alike — “to reunite in the restoration of the country and the reestablishment of peace and harmony.”
We’ll never know, of course, how he would have reacted to these recent controversies, but I would like to think that Lee would have disapproved not only of statues being erected in his honor, but also of the current unrest resulting from the removal of those statues, whether to him or any other leaders of the Confederacy. Lee, I believe, would have called for calm and peaceful discussion of our differences. We all would do well to follow Lee’s admonition — that we work toward “the reestablishment of peace and harmony.”
T. Jeff Driscoll, Hagerstown, Md.