Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin said Wednesday evening in the aftermath of the white nationalist Charlottesville rally that it’s a dishonor to veterans to let Nazis and white supremacists go unchallenged.
At a White House briefing, Shulkin led off with a opening statement on the Trump administration’s successes so far in the veterans’ arena, but the discussion was quickly sidetracked away from issues like the GI Bill and to the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va.
“Well, while I do serve the president as the secretary of VA, I think I don’t speak for the president. I think the president has done a good job speaking for himself,” Shulkin said. “He’s denounced hatred, bigotry, violence, Nazis, white supremacists, and I think he can speak for himself. I do feel as an America and as a member of the cabinet that I can speak for my own personal opinions on this, and I am outraged by the behavior I’ve seen with the Nazis and the white supremacists.”
“It is a dishonor to our country’s veterans to allow the Nazis and the white supremacists to go unchallenged, and I am strongly against them, and I believe we all have to speak up as Americans,” Shulkin added.
Trump has taken tremendous heat in the press for not speaking out quickly and aggressively enough against the rally and also for denouncing violence perpetrated by antifa protesters in addition to the violence perpetrated by white supremacists, which was a topic brought up at the Shulkin press briefing.
When asked about whether both sides were to blame for violence at Charlottesville, Shulkin dodged the question and proceeded to condemn Nazis and white supremacists. When asked for a second time, Shulkin admitted that he didn’t “look at the tapes” in order to make that kind of assessment, and then repeated his condemnation of Nazis and white supremacists.
“I am not in favor of violence in any form,” Shulkin said.
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