WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin reiterated his condemnation of violence exhibited last weekend in Charlottesville in a Facebook post Thursday, while also criticizing comments made this week by President Donald Trump.
Heather Heyer, 32, of Charlottesville, Virginia, died and dozens were injured after a driver drove their vehicle through a group protesting a “Unite the Right” white supremacist rally. The alleged driver, 20-year-old James Alex Fields Jr., of Ohio, has been charged with second-degree murder, three counts of malicious wounding and failure to stop in an accident that resulted in death.
“There is no place for hatred like this in our country,” Manchin said Saturday on Twitter.
The senator made similar remarks Thursday, noting how white supremacy “has always contradicted the very foundation our country was built on.”
Manchin did comment about President Donald Trump’s remarks from Tuesday, in which the president blamed both sides of the conflict.
“I think there’s blame on both sides, and I have no doubt about it, and you don’t have any doubt about it either,” Trump told reporters at Trump Tower in New York.
“They didn’t put themselves down as neo-Nazis, and you had some very bad people in that group,” the president said of the rally participants. “But you also had people that were very fine people on both sides.”
Manchin said Trump should not “leave any ambiguity” about the groups involved.
“There are not two sides to the story when the other side is Nazi’s, the KKK and white supremacists,” the senator added.
Bloomberg reported Aug. 11 White House and Republican officials were considering Manchin for the Secretary of Energy position. Current Secretary Rick Perry would be moved to the Department of Homeland Security to fill the vacancy left by John Kelly, who left to become White House chief of staff.
Manchin’s remarks come after Trump tweeted his support for keeping Confederate memorials and bashed Republican Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Jeff Flake of Arizona.
“Sad to see the history and culture of our great country being ripped apart with the removal of our beautiful statues and monuments. You can’t change history, but you can learn from it,” Trump said. “Also the beauty that is being taken out of our cities, towns and parks will be greatly missed and never able to be comparably replaced!”
According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, there are 10 symbols honoring the Confederacy in West Virginia public spaces.
The president said Thursday morning Graham was “publicity seeking” in regards to criticism he made about the president’s comments, and later voiced his support for Dr. Kelli Ward, a former Arizona state senator who is challenging Flake for the Republican nomination in the 2018 election.
“Great to see that Dr. Kelli Ward is running against Flake Jeff Flake, who is WEAK on borders, crime and a non-factor in Senate. He’s toxic!” Trump tweeted.
Both Graham and Flake have criticized Trump in the past, and both refused to endorse Trump in the 2016 presidential election.
Ward said last month Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey should appoint her to serve the remainder of Sen. John McCain’s term after the Republican senator announced his diagnosis of brain cancer.
“People like Kelli Ward are what’s wrong with politics today,” Manchin tweeted about Ward’s comments.
Trump has scheduled to hold a campaign rally Tuesday in Phoenix. The president said Sunday he is considering pardoning of former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who was found guilty of criminal intent in July. Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton said Trump should delay his visit.