A day after a tense white nationalist gathering in his city turned deadly, Charlottesville Mayor Michael Signer expressed his displeasure with how Donald Trump carried himself during the 2016 presidential campaign.
“Old saying: when you dance with the devil, the devil doesn’t change, the devil changes you,” Signer said on NBC’s “Meet The Press” Sunday morning, explaining why he previously said on Saturday that he hopes President Trump “looks himself in the mirror and thinks very deeply about who he consorted with.”
“I think they made a choice in that campaign,” Signer continued. “A very regrettable one, to really go to people’s prejudices, to go to the gutter.”
Singer believes “these influences around the country, these anti-Semites, racists, Aryans, neo-Nazis, KKK,” people who were “always in the shadows,” have “been given a key and a reason to come into the light.”
“The time has come for this to stop,” the mayor said. “This should be a turning point. This movement jumped the shark and it happened yesterday. People are dying and I do think that it’s now on the president and on all of us to say ‘enough is enough.’”
Gatherings of white nationalists violently clashed with counter-protesters on Saturday, and one person was killed and 19 others were injured when a car plowed through a crowd of counter-demonstrators.
President Trump is facing widespread criticism from both parties for suggesting that “many sides” were to blame for the violence in Charlottesville.
The car crash was “a clear terrorist attack with a car used as a weapon,” Signer said.
Signer also released the name of the woman who killed when a driver rammed his car into a group of anti-racist protesters demonstrating against an alt-right and white nationalist rally. He identified her as Heather Heyer, 32.
He also mentioned the two state troopers who died in a helicopter crash near the demonstrations.
“I have to start with a moment of reflection about our prayers going out to the families of Jay Cullen and Berke Bates, Virginia State Police,” Singer said on the TODAY Show.
“[And] Heather Heyer who passed away in that horrific car attack. I mean we’re a grieving city. Three people died who didn’t have to die. So we’re praying for them and their families and loved ones.”
Heyer was killed and more than 19 others were injured in the attack. Five were in critical condition, four in serious condition, six are fair and four are in good condition, on Saturday night.
On Saturday night, police said James Alex Fields Jr., 20, of Ohio, was the man arrested for plowing into the crowd.
He has been charged with one count of second-degree murder, three counts of malicious wounding and one count of “hit and run attended failure to stop with injury.”