In an impromptu address from the White House on Monday, President Donald Trump delivered harsh remarks against white supremacists and white nationalism.
“We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence,” President Trump said. “No matter the color of our skin, we all live under the same laws.”
In contrast to earlier statements from his administration about the violence, Trump called out the KKK, neo-Nazis and white supremacists by name. During his remarks, Trump announced a Department of Justice investigation into the events in Charlottesville and promised that those who perpetrate racism and violence will be punished.
“To anyone who acted criminally in this weekend’s racist violence: you will be held accountable. … Racism is evil, and those who cause violence in its name are … thugs,” Trump said. “We are a nation founded on the truth that all of us are created equal. We are equal in the eyes of the creator, and we are equal under the law.”
Trump’s address came two days after white nationalists and counter-protesters clashed on the streets of Charlottesville, Va. Two Virginia state troopers and a 32-year-old woman were killed in separate events.
The president offered condolences to the victims.