'Neo-Nazis: bad; anti-Nazis: good' - Tory minister Sajid Javid hits out at Donald Trump over Charlottesville
Sajid Javid has become the first Cabinet minister to condemn Donald Trump’s latest comments drawing equivalence between white supremacists and anti-fascist campaigners.
The US president criticised protesters for “charging at the… alt-right” and said there were “two sides to a story” about the violence that erupted in Charlottesville when the far right gathered for a march last weekend.
He condemned as a “horrible, inexcusable thing” the attack on the counter-protesters with a car that left one person dead and 20 more injured.
But Mr Trump’s decision to suggest both sides were equally culpable for the other violent clashes has drawn derision – both in the US and abroad.
Communities Secretary Mr Javid said he had learnt at school that Nazi sympathisers were “bad”, adding that it seemed “pretty obvious”.
Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson was similarly unimpressed by the president’s drawing of equivalence.
Prisons Minister Sam Gyimah also added his voice to the condemnation.
On Monday, Mr Trump issued a statement denouncing white supremacism, the KKK and neo-Nazi elements after coming under fire for initially referring to the violence “on all sides”.
But at a press conference yesterday he reverted to his original stance.
When asked whether the alt-right was responsible he said there was “blame on both sides” and added: “What about the alt-left that came charging at the, as you say, the alt-right. Do they have any semblance of guilt?...
“What about the fact they came charging – that they came charging, with clubs in their hands, swinging clubs? Do they have any problem? I think they do.”
Asked whether the counter-protest was at “the same level” as the neo-Nazis on the other side, Mr Trump defended the march on Friday evening, which involved white supremacists – some making Hitler salutes and chanting anti-Semitic slogans – processioning through the university campus with torches in their hands.
“You have some very bad people in that group, but you also had people that were very fine people on both sides… You had people in that group that were there to protest the taking down of, to them, a very, very important statue and the renaming of a park from Robert E. Lee to another name…
“You had a group on one side that was bad and you had a group on the other side that was also very violent. And nobody wants to say that, but I'll say it right now. You had a group, you had a group on the other side that came charging in without a permit and they were very, very violent.”
A string of senior Republicans, including Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney and Marco Rubio, have also condemned Mr Trump’s remarks.
PoliticsHome provides the most comprehensive coverage of UK politics anywhere on the web, offering high quality original reporting and analysis: Subscribe