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Mitt Romney attacks Trump over Charlottesville: ‘He has caused racists to rejoice and the vast heart of America to mourn’

He said that the President's statements prop up racism

Clark Mindock
New York
Friday 18 August 2017 20:52 BST
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Mr Romney has been a vocal critic of the President in the past
Mr Romney has been a vocal critic of the President in the past (Rex)

Former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney says that Donald Trump is risking the “unraveling of our national fabric” by sending a message that — either intentionally, or not — “caused racists to rejoice, minorities to week, and the vast heart of America to mourn.”

Mr Romney, no stranger to criticising the President, called on Mr Trump to take “remedial action in the extreme” to ward off what he described as dire consequences both domestically, and in terms of national defence.

“This is a defining moment for President Trump. But much more than that, it is a moment that will define America in the hearts of our children,” Mr Romney wrote in a post on Facebook. “They are watching, our soldiers are watching, the world is watching. Mr. President, act now for the good of the country.”

The former governor of Massachusetts had written previously on the issue, and seemed to disagree with Mr Trump’s statement earlier this week when he said that both sides in the deadly conflict in Charlottesville had good people. — and appeared to equate both sides.

That demonstration was organised by white supremacists to protest the removal of a statue honouring an American Confederate general who fought to preserve the institution of slavery in the United States, and had attracted counter protesters. One of those counter protesters was killed, and 19 more were injured, after a car driven by a suspected white supremacist drove through a crowd.

“No, not the same,” Mr Romney wrote then. “One side is racist, bigoted, Nazi. The other opposes racism and bigotry. Morally different universes.”

Read his full statement below.

“I will dispense for now from discussion of the moral character of the president's Charlottesville statements. Whether he intended to or not, what he communicated caused racists to rejoice, minorities to weep, and the vast heart of America to mourn. His apologists strain to explain that he didn't mean what we heard. But what we heard is now the reality, and unless it is addressed by the president as such, with unprecedented candor and strength, there may commence an unraveling of our national fabric.

The leaders of our branches of military service have spoken immediately and forcefully, repudiating the implications of the president's words. Why? In part because the morale and commitment of our forces—made up and sustained by men and women of all races—could be in the balance. Our allies around the world are stunned and our enemies celebrate; America's ability to help secure a peaceful and prosperous world is diminished. And who would want to come to the aid of a country they perceive as racist if ever the need were to arise, as it did after 9/11?

In homes across the nation, children are asking their parents what this means. Jews, blacks, Hispanics, Muslims are as much a part of America as whites and Protestants. But today they wonder. Where might this lead? To bitterness and tears, or perhaps to anger and violence?

The potential consequences are severe in the extreme. Accordingly, the president must take remedial action in the extreme. He should address the American people, acknowledge that he was wrong, apologize. State forcefully and unequivocally that racists are 100% to blame for the murder and violence in Charlottesville. Testify that there is no conceivable comparison or moral equivalency between the Nazis—who brutally murdered millions of Jews and who hundreds of thousands of Americans gave their lives to defeat—and the counter-protestors who were outraged to see fools parading the Nazi flag, Nazi armband and Nazi salute. And once and for all, he must definitively repudiate the support of David Duke and his ilk and call for every American to banish racists and haters from any and every association.

This is a defining moment for President Trump. But much more than that, it is a moment that will define America in the hearts of our children. They are watching, our soldiers are watching, the world is watching. Mr. President, act now for the good of the country.”

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