Tom Bossert, President Trump’s White House homeland security adviser, said the administration condemns the white supremacists and racists who marched in Charlottesville, Va., on Saturday.
But, Bossert also offered some defense for his boss against allegations that the president’s reaction on Saturday was notable because it didn’t condemn white supremacists by name, or didn’t call the violence acts of domestic terrorism.
The marches became violent as counter-protesters showed up, and eventually turned deadly when a man drove a car into a crowd, an action police are describing as deliberate. One woman was killed, and more than a dozen others were injured.
“I, for one, was with the president yesterday and proud of the fact that he stood up and calmly looked into the camera and condemned this violence and bigotry in all its forms. This racial intolerance and racial bigotry cannot be condoned,” Bossert told CNN’s Jake Tapper.
Tapper pressed Bossert by reading a posting from a white supremacist website that praised the president for not singling out those groups, and by ignoring a question asking if he condemned neo-Nazi groups.
“So, Jake, what you need to focus on is the rest of his statement,” Bossert began.
“The president didn’t just call for human beings to respect one another which is his pragmatist core, fundamental, bare minimum. But he called for, ideally, Americans to love one another, for all of God’s children to love one another. That is a fundamental assault on the very nature of the hatred that we’re seeing here. And I guess you’re going to continue to press on the words he didn’t say.”
Still, Tapper pressed again, noting much of the criticism on the words the president didn’t say were coming from Republicans like New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, and Sen. Cory Garnder of Colorado.
“This is unacceptable. This violence cannot stand,” Bossert said. “He made that clear yesterday. I think that the other statements that you’ve highlighted Gov. Christie and the other leaders in the party that you’ve quoted have all said things similar. They all denounced the violence. Denounced the groups that showed up.”