WASHINGTON (JTA) — Eighteen Jewish Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives called on President Donald Trump to “consistently and unequivocally fight against racists and anti-Semites” in the aftermath of the deadly far-right rally in Charlottesville.
“We are deeply troubled by your statement blaming ‘both sides’ for the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia,” said the letter sent Thursday and spearheaded by Rep. Sander Levin, D-Mich.
“Your statements show a deep misunderstanding of history and a fundamental lack of moral compass. As the leader of our nation, it is incumbent upon you to stand up to hate, not to provide legitimacy to those who violently perpetrate it.”
Trump in the wake of the car ramming Saturday by an alleged neo-Nazi that killed a Charlottesville resident condemned neo-Nazis, the Ku Klux Klan and white supremacists, but also said “many sides” were responsible for the violence and said there were “very fine people” on both sides.
Far-right groups converged on Charlottesville last weekend to protest the city’s planned removal of a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee. Some rally participants bore Nazi flags and shouted racist and anti-Jewish slogans, with no visible objections by fellow protesters. There were a number of skirmishes between protesters and counterprotesters.
“In the strongest possible terms, we urge you to consistently and unequivocally fight against racists and anti-Semites,” the letter said. “Anything less is beneath the dignity of your office and the ideals of our great nation.”
There are 21 Democrats in the House who identify as Jewish and two Republicans.