Donald Trump and his supporters continue to paint criticism of his defense of white supremacists as a liberal thing:
But as happened this weekend, when dozens of Republicans criticized the president for refusing to call out neo-Nazis and white nationalists in Charlottesville, his fellow party members leveled more criticism at the president Monday for his new remarks on the violence.
Some of the comments came from the usual Republican critics of Trump, such as Ohio Gov. John Kasich, but conservatives joined in, as they did over the weekend. A roundup:
We must be clear. White supremacy is repulsive. This bigotry is counter to all this country stands for. There can be no moral ambiguity.— Paul Ryan (@SpeakerRyan) August 15, 2017
We can’t claim to be the party of Lincoln if we equivocate in condemning white supremacy— Jeff Flake (@JeffFlake) August 16, 2017
No, not the same. One side is racist, bigoted, Nazi. The other opposes racism and bigotry. Morally different universes.— Mitt Romney (@MittRomney) August 16, 2017
I was clear about this bigotry & violence over the weekend and I'll repeat it today: We must defeat white supremacy and all forms of hatred. https://t.co/iOaVvE8txs— Rep. Steve Scalise (@SteveScalise) August 15, 2017
Race-based supremacy movements have no place in our melting pot culture. #Charlottesville— Kevin McCarthy (@GOPLeader) August 15, 2017
Blaming "both sides" for #Charlottesville?! No. Back to relativism when dealing with KKK, Nazi sympathizers, white supremacists? Just no.— Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (@RosLehtinen) August 15, 2017
There's no moral equivalency between racists & Americans standing up to defy hate& bigotry. The President of the United States should say so— John McCain (@SenJohnMcCain) August 16, 2017
Marco Rubio offered a rebuke in six chapters:
The organizers of events which inspired & led to #charlottesvilleterroristattack are 100% to blame for a number of reasons. 1/6— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) August 15, 2017
They are adherents of an evil ideology which argues certain people are inferior because of race, ethnicity or nation of origin. 2/6— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) August 15, 2017
When entire movement built on anger & hatred towards people different than you,it justifies & ultimately leads to violence against them 3/6— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) August 15, 2017
Mr. President,you can't allow #WhiteSupremacists to share only part of blame.They support idea which cost nation & world so much pain 5/6— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) August 15, 2017
The #WhiteSupremacy groups will see being assigned only 50% of blame as a win.We can not allow this old evil to be resurrected 6/6— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) August 15, 2017
South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott was even more prolific, taking down Trump’s remarks in 12 tweets, including this one:
There is absolutely NO gray area when it comes to condemning groups who breed on racism, hate and division.— Tim Scott (@SenatorTimScott) August 16, 2017
As for North Carolina’s senators, Thom Tillis and Richard Burr? There was silence Tuesday and early today. Same for Republican Rep. Robert Pittenger, who’s running to keep his U.S. 9th District seat against conservative Mark Harris. Harris, formerly senior pastor of Charlotte’s First Baptist Church, didn’t find a need to weigh in, either.
Many Republicans did, however, signaling a new willingness to distance themselves from the president. Given all that it took for Republicans to finally get there, it shows just how much Trump has pushed himself to the fringe, right alongside the hate groups he has such difficulty calling out.