The Navy’s top officer condemned the Saturday events in Charlottesville, Va., saying they “must not be tolerated.”
“The shameful events in Charlottesville are unacceptable and must not be tolerated,” Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson said in a statement Saturday. The Navy will “forever stand against intolerance and hatred,” he added.
Such a bold statement from Richardson on public violence is a rarity.
Richardson’s comments come after a day of violent clashes between white nationalists at the Unite the Right rally and antifa in Charlottesville. Before the rally had officially started, Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe declared a state of emergency at approximately 11:40 a.m. This allowed police to break up any and all assemblies, regardless of permit.
Most of the violence was relatively low-level in intensity and restricted to street skirmishes. However, during the afternoon, a man driving a Dodge Challenger barreled through a group of antifa, killing one person and injuries 19 others. Police immediately arrested the driver and later identified him as 20-year-old James Alex Fields, Jr., an Ohio man. Searches into Fields’ background revealed a social media profile replete with alt-right imagery. Fields is being charged with one count of second-degree murder, three counts of malicious wounding and a count of hit-and-run.
The FBI and Department of Justice have subsequently opened investigations into the incident.
Other government figures have also issued loud condemnations of the events that took place in Charlottesville.
“We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides, on many sides,” President Donald Trump said from his private golf club in New Jersey. “It has been going on for a long time in our country — not Donald Trump, not Barack Obama. It has been going on for a long, long time. It has no place in America.”
“The views fueling the spectacle in Charlottesville are repugnant,” Ryan tweeted. “Let it only serve to unite Americans against this kind of vile bigotry.”
GOP Sen. John McCain said “white supremacists” cannot be American patriots.
“White Supremacists and neo-Nazis are, by definition, opposed to American patriotism and the ideals that define us as a people and make our nation special,” McCain said in a statement.
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