The Republican Jewish Coalition, a political group that has previously backed President Donald Trump amid controversial issues, said it was not pleased with how Trump handled the fallout from the deadly Charlottesville, Virginia, rally last weekend.
“We join with our political and religious brethren in calling upon President Donald Trump to provide greater moral clarity in rejecting racism, bigotry, and antisemitism,”the coalition said in a statement on Wednesday.
The statement said, “there are no good Nazis,” a reference to Trump’s assertion on Tuesday that there were some “fine people on both sides” at the Charlottesville rally originally organized to protest the removal of a Confederate statue. The event turned violent when white nationalist groups and counterprotesters clashed, ultimately leading to the death of a 32-year-old woman.
Critics have urged Trump to be more forceful in condemning while nationalist and white supremacist groups, the leaders of which interpreted Trump’s remarks on Tuesday as vindication for their activities.
Though Trump initially blamed “many sides” for the violence that ensued on Saturday, he later clarified his rebukes and specifically called out hate groups on Monday, only to revert back to his original assertion on Tuesday that counterprotesters deserved equal blame for the violence.
Others have pointed to White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, who they believe influenced Trump’s overall response to Charlottesville. Bannon reportedly spoke to Trump by phone throughout the weekend, but had not “meaningfully advised” the president on his response, according to the news website, Axios.
For his part, Bannon was reportedly encouraged by the backlash of the last few days, Axios reported Wednesday afternoon: “Bannon saw Trump’s now-infamous Tuesday afternoon press conference not as the lowest point in his presidency, but as a ‘defining moment,’ where Trump decided to fully abandon the ‘globalists’ and side with ‘his people.'”