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White House officials called on President Donald Trump to “re-evaluate” white supremacy after he spoke out in favor of “black lives matter” on Saturday.
The White House press secretary, Sarah Sanders, said Trump should re-expose his white supremacist views in the wake of the deadly white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, and denounce the violence in his first weeks in office.
“As the president has said, his administration will stand up to bigotry and racism and discrimination, and it will do so with respect, dignity, and courage,” Sanders said during the press briefing.
“We also want to make sure that when he speaks out, he speaks with a clear mind and with a firm heart and with an understanding of the devastating impact that these events have on communities of color.”
Trump, who has frequently blamed white supremacists for the Charlottesville violence, called for unity during his address on Saturday night.
“When a great American group gathers together to peacefully express their shared values, they don’t march in lockstep.
They don’t hold hands.
They stand up for what’s right,” he said.
“And we are stronger together, as one united people, for the common good.”
“We are stronger for you, the black community, the Latino community, as we continue to be united,” he added.
“The alt-right is not a fringe movement.
They represent the very worst of our racist history.
We need to stand up together and say that hate is evil, it is abhorrent and it must never be accepted.”
Sanders noted that Trump has previously denounced white supremacists and other white nationalists, and called his support of white supremacists a “statement of unequivocal and unapologetic condemnation.”
“The president has consistently denounced hate groups,” she said.
She noted that he also spoke out against the Ku Klux Klan and neo-Nazis.
“There are also people in the white supremacist movement who have been active and vocal supporters of President Trump,” Sanders added.
The remarks came a day after Trump condemned “white supremacists and neo.pagan terrorists,” and urged people to “get out of their communities.”
“They don’t represent the views of the American people,” Sanders told reporters.
“But the fact is, they have a right to express themselves.
They have a voice.
They can speak up and be heard.
And we will not stand for that.”
Trump also tweeted that his administration was “calling out” white supremacists, but did not specifically name the groups.
“What the alt-left is trying to do is destroy what little is left of our country,” Trump said.
In an earlier tweet on Saturday, Trump called on people to get out of “their own communities and start the fight back.”
“No more excuses for racism, sexism, and bigotry.
Time to start the fire!” he wrote.
“Now is the time to stand for what is right.
The left wants to divide us up.
We all must stand together!”
Sanders said Trump’s remarks on Saturday were a “good start” for the administration, but warned that Trump’s administration will continue to fight bigotry.
“If the president continues to have his heart and soul for the white supremacists who hate us and who do violence, I think he will be faced with a tough road ahead,” she added.