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Note: This article contains coarse language and graphic content.
President Donald Trump triggered an avalanche of criticism for his handling of the deadly violence by far-right white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia, earlier in August.
Demonstrator Heather Heyer was killed when a car plowed through a march in protest of the “Unite the Right” nationalist gathering in Charlottesville. The vehicle was allegedly driven by James Alex Fields Jr., who is now being charged with second-degree murder and is the subject of an FBI civil rights investigation.
Trump received political blowback for not calling out white supremacy by name immediately after the incident. Trump also received criticism for saying there was violence on “many sides” during the incident. In the preceding days after the initial demonstrations, Trump has condemned violence on both the right and the left directly, calling out “white nationalists” in a statement and the far-left extremist group “antifa” at a rally in Phoenix.
Antifa, which stands for “anti-fascist,” is a group that is prone to use violent fascist tactics for its political ends. Antifa has a long-recorded and established history of violence against police and private citizens. In the wake of Charlottesville, dozens of far-left protesters have been arrested for violent behavior. Sunday afternoon, antifa marched on UC Berkeley's campus in response to a prayer rally. The group beat conservative demonstrators, assaulted reporters and fought police.
Here is footage from reporters on the scene:
Antifa is a growing, violent movement on the political left. However, many Democrat politicians have not yet denounced antifa and its violent tactics by name. In a brief interview with IJR Monday morning, Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe disavowed violence on “any side” — but refused to directly disavow antifa when asked multiple times.
When the governor was asked if he disavows antifa for its actions at Berkley on Monday night, he said:
“I disavow anyone — we won't tolerate violence of any kind. You’re entitled to protest. First amendment certainly protected. As I've said after Charlottesville, anyone who came to our state, anyone who committed violence, on any side, will be arrested. [...] Everybody’s entitled to do their protest but were not going to accept violence from anybody.”
When asked again if he directly disavows antifa by name, the governor said, “Here’s what I do as governor, I denounce any individual who commits a crime, who commits violence on our citizens. We will get you, and we will arrest you, plain and simple. I don’t care what the group is.”
At this point, the governor's staffer said they had to leave, and he entered his vehicle.
Here is the TIME report on the governor's remarks after the Charlottesville riots:
Speaking at the Sunday services at Mt. Zion First African Baptist Church in the same city where the rally took place, McAuliffe called the white supremacists “dividers.” McAuliffe said he and the state of Virginia stand with the African-American community and doubled down on his denunciation of the white supremacists who gathered in his state.
“I'll tell you this: You only made us stronger,” McAuliffe said, referring to the white supremacists.“You go home, you stay out of here, because we are a commonwealth that stays together.”
You can read IJR's full report on the marauding antifa mob here.
Listen to the Governor's answers below: