At five o’clock PM, the President of the United States gave the following statements to assembled members of the press corps.
“At approximately 1 PM this afternoon, a young woman was killed, and 19 others injured, in a domestic terror attack in Charlottesville, Virginia. I have been informed that the perpetrator is in custody. I have also been advised that two police officers lost their lives in a helicopter crash, but we have no further details at this time.
“I have prepared some remarks.
“I was nauseated and horrified by the display of wanton violence, bigotry, and intolerance on display this afternoon.
“Violence is never a legitimate political act, and I, along with my administration, condemn in the strongest possible terms all of those, on the left and the right, who would use force to achieve their ends. Violence, from any side, has no place in our system. To anyone who swings a club, you do not speak for Americans. To anyone who throws a bottle, you do not speak for Americans. To anyone who breaks a window, or lights a fire, or flips over a car, you do not speak for Americans. Those who hide their faces, whether behind masks or behind hoods, are cowards and brutes, and we will not be intimidated.
“That said, we saw something far worse than mere violence today, something worse than vandalism or property damage. We saw that a poisonous ideology is still alive and thriving in America. It is an ideology of hate. It is an ideology of oppression. Worse than a club, worse than a rock, worse than a boot, the vile, despicable ideology of racism is a corruption that sits deep in the veins of this country. It has infected the very heart and soul of this great nation. Its agents seek to spread this disease.
“To be clear: there is no place in this country for the KKK, neo-Nazis, or for white supremacists. Anyone who would advance the cause of white supremacy through fear or force is a terrorist, and will be treated as such to the full extent possible by the law.
“If you spread hate, we will come for you. If you spread violence, we will come for you. You are terrorists, and America will come for you.
“Your time is over.
“I have reached out to the families of the victims of today’s senseless violence, and I have shared my deepest condolences. Rest assured, Heather Heyer and troopers Cullen and Bates will not be forgotten. Their names and their legacies will be remembered.
“The legacy of slavery is the great shame of America. It is a wound that has never healed. Healing that wound will be a long, painful process, but if we are to be whole as a country, perhaps for the first time, it is vital that we begin that process. To that end, I have directed my Attorney General to dedicate all the resources necessary to investigate these acts of terror and those who carry them out. And I am asking members of the House and Senate, on both sides of the aisle, to start the process of understanding and confronting this monumental challenge. There has never been a problem that Americans, united, cannot solve, and, united, we will stomp out hatred and bigotry in this country.
“I would like to conclude with some of the words of Robert Kennedy. After the murder of Dr. Martin Luther King, he said that, ‘Whenever any American’s life is taken by another American unnecessarily—whether it is done in the name of the law or in defiance of the law, by one man or a gang, in cold blood or in passion, in an attack of violence or in response to violence—whenever we tear at the fabric of life which another man has painfully and clumsily woven for himself and his children, the whole nation is degraded.’
“We have been degraded by what we have seen today. Our hearts have been broken. The violence and bloodshed affects us all and makes us all less whole. We must not succumb to the wishes of those who wish to divide us. Now is not the time to be driven apart, but to come together. We will not allow hate to win in this country.
“Thank you. God bless you, and God bless America.”