Charlottesville car attack was terrorism, say majority of Democrats and Republicans

But they disagree on how well Donald Trump handled that terrorism

Clark Mindock
New York
Thursday 17 August 2017 16:27 BST
Americans are divided over whether Mr Trump has handled Charlottesville right
Americans are divided over whether Mr Trump has handled Charlottesville right (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Republicans and Democrats in the United States alike have found rare common ground following the violent rally in Charlottesville that left one woman dead.

A majority people in both parties say that the car attack on counter protesters was an “act of domestic terrorism”. That includes 73 per cent of Democrats, 51 per cent of Republicans, and 63 per cent of independents, according to a CBS News poll.

But when it comes to President Donald Trump’s response to the attack — and his description of who’s to blame — the American public is once again polarised. Of Republicans, 67 percent approve of how the President handled the situation, compared to 10 percent of Democrats and 32 percent of independents. Just 22 per cent of Republicans disapprove of his response, compared to 82 per cent of Democrats, and 53 per cent of independents.

Mr Trump has been criticised widely in the news media for his responses to the Charlottesville attack. On Saturday, the day of the attack, the President condemned the “display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides.” With criticism continuing to mount, the White House released a statement Sunday saying: “The President said very strongly in his statement yesterday that he condemns all forms of violence, bigotry, and hatred… Of course that includes white supremacists, KKK Neo-Nazi and all extremist groups.” But the statement from the White House fell short of the media’s expectations of a clear and strong condemnation of those groups coming directly from the President. So, the President on Monday denounced the groups directly, and said that members of those groups who take part in violence are “criminals and thugs” in a statement from the White House.

But, the President on Tuesday appeared to roll back that condemnation during off-the-cuff comments to reporters after announcing infrastructure. In those remarks, he appeared to defend keeping Confederate memorials in place, and compared Confederate generals to American forefathers.

Following those Tuesday remarks, approval of the President’s handling of the situation dropped overall from 35 per cent to 33 per cent. Disapproval, meanwhile, jumped from 52 per cent to 58 percent.

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