Indian-American leaders condemn Trump’s Charlottesville remarks, call it “disgrace”

Indian-Americans have condemned US President Donald Trump's remarks blaming "both sides" for the Charlottesville violence and termed his defence of neo-Nazi groups and white supremacists as a "disgrace".

US President Donald Trump white supremacy
US President Donald Trump. Photo courtesy: Wikipedia

US President Donald Trump had come under fire from both Republicans and Democrats for his muted response to the violence unleashed by white supremacists during a rally in Charlottesville in Virginia in which a woman was killed and 19 others were injured when a car ploughed into a crowd of counter- protesters.

The president reverted yesterday to his initial position that both left and right-wing extremists became violent during the weekend rally and blamed both sides including the "alt-left".

"I think there's blame on both sides. If you look at both sides – I think there's blame on both sides. I have no doubt about it, and you don't have any doubt about it either. And if you reported it accurately, you would say," Trump said.

US Representative Pramila Jayapal joined two other members of Congress, Raja Krishnamoorthi and  Ro Khanna, yesterday in introducing a resolution of censure against President Donald Trump in the wake of his press conference at Trump Tower on Tuesday.

Jayapal and others say Trump was “excusing” the behaviour of white supremacists and participants in the ‘Unite the Right’ rally.

“The American people expect their leaders to condemn white supremacy in unambiguous terms,” Jayapal’s statement read. “President Trump not only failed at condemning white supremacists and neo-Nazis, he stood up for them – for that he must be censured. The president’s conduct is un-American and it must stop.”

Indian-American Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi
Indian-American Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi. Photo courtesy: Wikipedia

Indian-American Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi said the US knew the price of hate too well to deny it, to marginalise it, or to accept David Duke's twisted view of the world.

"I condemn in the strongest possible terms any moral equivalency between white nationalists and those who would peacefully oppose them," he said yesterday.

"Thousands of Americans made the ultimate sacrifice in the quest to rid the world of tyranny, oppression and injustice. It is a disgrace to the legacy of those brave men and women – living and dead – for the President to in any way accommodate values so antithetical to those of their nation," Krishnamoorthi said.

He lamented that it took Trump two days to denounce neo-Nazis, members of the Ku Klux Klan, and other white supremacists and then doubling down on blaming both sides for the violence and defending people who chanted anti-Semitic slogans in a torch-lit rally.

"The scene would have been appalling in Nuremberg in 1937. In 2017, it chilled me to the bone to hear the President of the United States say that some of the participants were 'very fine people'," Krishnamoorthi said.

"While it is unconscionable that an American president would defend the actions of neo-Nazis and white supremacists, President Trump is right on one thing: Progressives will not stop our charge for fairness, equality and inclusive policies.

Congressman Ami Bera said the violence in Charlottesville was an example of what happens when politicians tolerate hatred and bigotry.

"As a candidate, Donald Trump knew these hate groups supported his campaign. In both his rhetoric and actions, Trump encouraged these groups to come out of the shadows. He gave groups like the KKK and white supremacists legitimacy and a voice. Sadly, that trend has continued during the Trump presidency," he said.

Neera Tanden president and CEO of the Center for American Progress
Neera Tanden, president and CEO of the Center for American Progress. Photo courtesy:

Americans of every political stripe and creed who condemn hate will be charging alongside us," said Neera Tanden president and CEO of the Center for American Progress.

The people in Charlottesville who opposed the alt-right movement should not be attacked by the president, she said, adding that instead they should be applauded for standing up for American values of equality and inclusion.

"Many were injured and one person died, defending the idea that all people are created equal," Tanden said.

"It is incredible to me that it is newsworthy in 2017 that the president of the United States has condemned racism and white supremacy," Vanita Gupta, president and chief executive of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights told podcast Cape Up.

She was the head of the civil rights division of the Department of Justice under Obama Administration. "President Trump has forfeited any claim to the moral leadership a president must command. His facts are wrong, his moral compass is missing, and his continued refusal to recognise and call out evil and hate is a disgrace to our nation," she said in a statement.

"Now the rest of us must uphold America's ideals of fairness, justice and inclusion because Donald Trump has proven he will not. Those who do not clearly, firmly and unequivocally choose to side against hatred, racial bigotry and intolerance are complicit," Gupta said.