Trump blames ‘many sides’ for violent clashes in Virginia

Pablo Martinez Monsivais, Associated Press

President Donald Trump speaks about the ongoing situation in Charlottesville, Va., at Trump National Golf Club, Saturday, Aug. 12, 2017, in Bedminster, N.J.

BEDMINISTER, N.J. — President Donald Trump on Saturday blamed “many sides” for the violent clashes between protesters and white supremacists in Virginia and contended that the “hatred and bigotry” broadcast across the country had taken root long before his political ascendancy.

That was not how the Charlottesville mayor assessed the chaos that led the governor to declare a state of emergency, contending that Trump’s campaign fed the flames of prejudice.

Trump, on a working vacation at his New Jersey golf club, had intended to speak briefly at a ceremony marking the signing of bipartisan legislation to aid veterans, but he quickly found that those plans were overtaken by the escalating violence in the Virginia college town.

He told reporters that he had just spoken to Gov. Terry McAuliffe, D-Va., and “we agreed that the hate and the division must stop, and must stop right now. We have to come together as Americans with love for our nation and … true affection for each other.”

The president said that “what is vital now is a swift restoration of law and order and the protection of innocent lives.”

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