President Trump on Saturday condemned the “egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence” in Charlottesville, Va., where white nationalists upset over the removal of a Robert E. Lee statue violently clashed with counter-protesters.
One woman died and 19 others were being treated for injuries after a car plowed into a crowd of demonstrators, authorities said. Two Virginia state troopers also died when a helicopter crashed nearby.
“We are closely following the terrible events unfolding in Charlottesville, Virginia,” Trump told reporters at his golf club in New Jersey.
“We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides – on many sides,” he said.
On Saturday evening, a White House aide issued a statement clarifying why the president used the phrase “on many sides” instead of singling out the white nationalists who initially gathered in Charlottesville.
“The president was condemning hatred, bigotry and violence from all sources and all sides,” a White House official said. “There was violence between protesters and counter protesters today.”
During his remarks, the president said he spoke with Virginia Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe, who declared a state of emergency on Saturday.