Trump Sparks Backlash for Blaming Violence on 'Many Sides'

Violence in Charlottesville

Two people are dead after a helicopter crashed seven miles southwest of Charlottesville, Virginia, Saturday afternoon, the Virginia State Police said.

Video of the crash shows a gray sports auto speeding down a street full of pedestrians before slamming into the back of a stopped vehicle.

One was a veteran law enforcement officer with more than two decades as a Virginia state trooper. They have not released his identity.

A 32-year-old woman was killed and at least nine others injured when a vehicle barreled down a street crowded with pedestrians.

J.R. Romano, chair of the Connecticut Republican Party, said Saturday night that it's wrong for anyone to blame Trump for what happened in Virginia.

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"I am heartbroken that a life has been lost here".

"Go home", he said.

By Saturday morning, the crowds became violent as hundreds of people threw punches, hurled water bottles and unleashed chemical sprays.

Trump did not take questions from the media but instead delivered a prepared statement, in which he slammed the "display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides" present in Charlottesville, where white nationalist groups are clashing with anti-racism groups. "Let it only serve to unite Americans against this kind of vile bigotry".

Those remarks, as well as an earlier tweet from the president calling for unity, triggered criticism for not pointedly condemning the white supremacists and other far-right groups behind the violence. Officially, the rally was sparked by a decision to remove a monument to Confederate Gen. Similar disputes have sparked local protests in cities across the South.

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He kept quiet as David Duke, the former leader of the Ku Klux Klan, declared that the scene in Charlottesville is a "turning point" for a movement that aims to "fulfil the promises of Donald Trump".

Congressman Jared Polis, who is running for the governorship in 2018, said voices of counter-protesters "were silenced by an extreme act of violence".

Virginia's physical violence should not obscure the racially motivated political violence that Trump's presidency feeds on.

Officially, the rally never began, though the crowds from both sides clashed. Police eventually broke up the violence and declared the rally an unlawful assembly before it officially started. City officials expected thousands of demonstrators to attend. He said they were "deeply saddened" by the deaths.

This comes after a federal judge ordered the city to allow the weekend rally of white nationalists and other exxtremists to take place. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Virginia and Rutherford Institute, filed an injunction early Friday, demanding that the rally continue as planned and won.

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