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Home / Press Release / Trump’s Backtracking on White Nationalism is a Failure of American Leadership
August 15, 2017

Trump’s Backtracking on White Nationalism is a Failure of American Leadership

Washington, D.C.—Human Rights First today strongly condemned President Trump’s statements assigning blame to “both sides” for the horrific violence against counter-protestors at a neo-nazi rally in Charlottesville, Virginia and saying that there were “some very fine people on both sides.” In response, Human Rights First’s President and CEO Elisa Massimino issued the following statement:

"President Trump’s insistence on standing up for white supremacists, Nazis, and the KKK is breathtaking. This is not even dog-whistling anymore—the message from the president to these extremists is loud and clear: I am with you.

"People look to the president of the United States to provide moral leadership in the fight against extremist violence. Instead, he is providing aid and comfort to those who promote and perpetrate violence and seek to divide our nation. This is dereliction of duty, a disgrace to the office.

"This is a time for moral clarity. We applaud the many public statements from leaders from both parties denouncing the hatred displayed by white supremacists this weekend. Actions now need to follow words. Congress should use its power as a co-equal branch of government, for instance by refusing to move forward on any of his appointments, to make clear to the president that he must take clear, decisive action to remove the voices of white nationalism from his inner circle."

Human Rights First calls on President Trump to immediately remove members of the White House staff linked to white nationalism, including White House Chief Strategist Stephen Bannon and Deputy Assistant to the President Sebastian Gorka.

For more information or to speak with Massimino contact Mary Elizabeth Margolis at margolisme@humanrightsfirst.org or 212-845-5269.