Democratic Sen. Mark Warner gave President Donald Trump credit for his remarks on the Charlottesville attack Monday, calling him “presidential,” but adding that he expected the remarks much sooner.
“I think the president in his last statement actually sounded presidential,” Warner said in an interview on MSNBC’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports.” “I wish that he would have said those same words on Saturday when local leaders, elected leaders across the country were calling out this kind of vileness that was exhibited by some of these hate groups.”
Warner believed the president’s comments to be sincere, but said that without action from the Department of Justice, they would lead to a re-emergence of violent hate groups. “I will give the president the benefit today,” he said. “Now we have to make sure that his DOJ acts on those words.”
Warner was quick to label the incident a terrorist act, and compared the tactics to Islamic extremists.
“This was domestic terrorism. It was the same type of evil tactics, using a car as a weapon that we’ve seen in Europe,” he said. “And for a presidential candidate that was so obsessed about calling out Barack Obama for failing to use the term islamic terrorist, that same standard should be applied when we’re seeing foreign based terrorism taking place in America, or what we saw on Saturday.”
Warned called on all American to come together to support the First Amendment, but simultaneously condemned “hate speech.”
“I think it’s important that Americans of all political stripes stand up and say we support free speech,” he said, “But the kind of hate speech and neo-Nazi racist, vile efforts that these groups represent — they have no place in any political dialogue in our country.”
“Democracy is messy and our First Amendment is what separates us from basically any other Western democracy, from anyone in the world so we’ve got to protect that,” Warner said.
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