Trump 'must go': backlash grows over white rally comments
THE backlash against Donald Trump is growing after he said both sides were to blame for the deadly violence at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, at the weekend.
Members of Mr Trump's own Republican party have led the condemnation, with Ohio governor and former presidential candidate John Kasich slamming the President's remarks as "pathetic".
"The President has to totally condemn this," he told the US's Today show.
"And this is not about winning an argument. This is about the fact that apparently now these folks are going to go other places and they think that they've had some sort of a victory.
There's no moral equivalency between racists & Americans standing up to defy hate& bigotry. The President of the United States should say so— John McCain (@SenJohnMcCain) August 16, 2017
"There is no moral equivalency between the KKK, the neo-Nazis and anybody else.
"I want Donald Trump to understand it's not about winning an argument, it's about bringing the country together."
Frequent Trump critic, Republican senator John McCain, also challenged the President to deny that there was "moral equivalency" between racists and those standing against them.
South Carolina Republican senator Lindsey Graham said on Wednesday that the President "took a step backward by again suggesting there is moral equivalency between the white supremacist neo-Nazis and KKK members who attended the Charlottesville rally" and the people demonstrating against them.
"Many Republicans do not agree with and will fight back against the idea that the Party of Lincoln has a welcome mat out for the David Dukes of the world," he said, in reference to the former KKK leader who has praised Mr Trump's comments.
Celebrities have also joined the chorus of criticism, with The Avengers star Mark Ruffalo, left-wing filmmaker Michael Moore and Hollywood starlet Olivia Wilde joining a protest outside Trump Tower in Midtown Manhattan on Tuesday night.
Ruffalo led a chant of "No KKK, no Trump, no fascist USA", while Wilde yelled that "Donald Trump is not a legitimate president".
Wilde told news.com.au that Mr Trump's rhetoric had reached "fever pitch" and that she had chosen to join the protest to "resist".
"Supporting white supremacy is not something we can support or allow," she told news.com.au as the protesters began to disperse.
Moore actually organised for the audience of his Broadway show to board a bus and travel a few the few block to Mr Trump's home in New York's Fifth Ave to start a protest, which was streamed live on Facebook.
The US media has also ripped into Mr Trump since his remarks, with an opinion piece entitled "President Trump must go" being the most read article on The Washington Post website on Tuesday.
"Donald Trump on Tuesday afternoon gave the most disgusting public performance in the history of the American presidency," the article read.
"Framed by the vulgar excess of the lobby of Trump Tower, the President of the United States shook loose the constraints of his more decent-minded advisers and, speaking from his heart, defended white supremacists and by extension, their credos of hatred."
Many other Republicans have condemned "messages of hate and bigotry" by white supremacists, but failed to specifically call out the President.
"We all have a responsibility to stand against hate and violence, wherever it raises its evil head," the US Senate's top Republican, Mitch McConnell said on Wednesday.
Former Republican presidents George HW Bush and George W Bush also released a joint statement that stopped short of criticising Mr Trump's comments directly.
"America must always reject racial bigotry, anti-Semitism, and hatred in all forms," the father and son said.
The statement was in line with comments the day before from House Speaker Paul Ryan, who said "white supremacy is repulsive" but ignored the president's comments.
Meanwhile, Mr Trump has shut down his Manufacturing Council and Strategy and Policy Forum after seven chief executive officers quit the board in protest over his Charlottesville remarks.
Despite the growing criticism, a source told CNN that the President was "without regrets" after yesterday's fiery press conference.
Mr Trump copped a swift backlash when he said that the media had been unfair to some of the "very fine people" on the Right who were present at the rally in Charlottesville protesting the removal of a statue of Confederate general Robert E Lee.
He said that counter-protesters on the "alt-left" were also "very, very violent" and that there was "blame on both sides".
- with AP