Fri, 24 May 2024

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By Baroness Smith of Llanfaes
Press releases

Jeremy Corbyn attacks Donald Trump over Charlottesville response

3 min read

Jeremy Corbyn has blasted Donald Trump for failing to condemn white supremacists after the violence which followed a far-right rally in Charlottesville. 

Civil rights activist Heather Heyer died after a car drove into a crowd of anti-racism protesters on Saturday.

That followed a march by members of far right groups in the Virginia city on Friday night.

President Donald Trump has come in for severe criticism after he failed to specifically name the white supremacists in his immediate reaction to the events.

He said: “We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides, on many sides.”

But Mr Corbyn said President Trump was one of the only world leaders unable to call out white supremacists for criticism.

“It’s not enough,” he said of the president’s comments.  

“What happened in Charlottesville was the KKK and its supporters, white supremacists, arrived in Charlottesville in order to cause trouble and one person died and many, many more have been injured.

“Surely every president of every country in the world where we represent everybody should be able to condemn that!”

The White House has subsequently insisted that the president was referring to "white supremacists, KKK, Neo-Nazi and all extremist groups".

Theresa May today specifically criticised the far-right after the violence over the weekend.

Asked whether Mrs May felt President Trump had gone far enough in his condemnation, a spokesman for the Prime Minister said: “What the President says is a matter for him, but what we are very clear that we condemn racism, hatred and violence. The Prime Minister has been very clear – we condemn the far right.”

James Fields, 20, from Ohio, has been arrested suspicion of second-degree murder in relation to the death of Ms Heyer.

Speaking today, US Attorney General Jeff Sessions said the violence met “the definition of domestic terrorism”.

He said: “You can be sure we will charge and advance the investigation towards the most serious charges that can be brought because this is unequivocally an unacceptable evil attack.”


Mr Trump’s emphasis on “both sides” has been likened by some to Mr Corbyn’s statement on the clashes between protesters and government forces in Venezuela.

The Labour leader – who has previously been an outspoken supporter of the Nicolas Maduro and Hugo Chavez administrations in the Latin American country – said that he condemned “violence by all sides”, while refusing to single out the regime.

Speaking today, Mr Corbyn dismissed it as a false comparison.

“There is no equivalence between white supremacists trying to kill somebody in Charlottesville [and the turmoil in Venezuela],” he said.

“And yes, there are problems in Venezuela. What I’ve called for is the same as President Macron and others have called for, is calm, is peace, is negotiations and is a constitutional way forward.” 

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