President Trump tweeted Saturday on the one-year anniversary of the white nationalist "Unite the Right" rally that left anti-racist activist Heather Heyer dead and more than a dozen of her fellow counter-protesters injured:
The riots in Charlottesville a year ago resulted in senseless death and division. We must come together as a nation. I condemn all types of racism and acts of violence. Peace to ALL Americans!
Last year, Trump sang a different tune, repeatedly blaming "many sides" for the violence in Charlottesville. Most infamously, and to wide bipartisan critique, he said "not all those people were neo-Nazis, not all those people were white supremacists. You had people that were very fine people on both sides."
"'Very fine people' do not participate in rallies with groups chanting racist and anti-Semitic slogans and displaying vile symbols of hate," Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) said on Twitter. Read The Week's Simon Maloy on why Charlottesville was Trump's worst failure. Bonnie Kristian
Anti-racist activists will rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, on Saturday, a year after the white nationalist "Unite the Right" demonstration plunged the city into turmoil.
In August 2017, white nationalists marched through the University of Virginia campus chanting Nazi slogans. The next morning, their clashes with counter-protesters turned violent, culminating in the death of Heather Heyer, 32, who was killed when she was hit by a car driven by a white supremacist who plowed into a crowd.
Following her daughter's death, Heyer's mother, Susan Bro, has become an anti-racist activist in her stead. "I turned my attention to carrying forth her message," Bro said. "You don’t get to silence my kid and get away with it. I'm going to speak even louder."
In a CNN interview Friday evening, Bro sought to direct attention to Heyer's passion for equality rather than her death. It's time to "take the focus off Heather, as Heather would want us to do," she explained. "It's been a year now, and let's focus on why she was there. Let's focus on what she died for."
Charlottesville will be subject to a heavy police presence this weekend, and the primary organizer of last year's white nationalist event, Jason Kessler, was denied a permit for a concurrent demonstration this year. Instead, he is planning a "white civil rights" event in Washington, D.C., on Sunday. Bonnie Kristian
On Wednesday, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) and the city of Charlottesville declared a state of emergency in anticipation of the one-year anniversary of the white supremacist Unite the Right rally.
During the rally, Heather Heyer, 32, was killed when a car drove into a crowd of counterprotesters. Two Virginia State troopers also died that weekend, after their helicopter crashed. Northam's office said there are several events planned for Friday through Sunday in the Charlottesville area, and the Virginia State Police, Virginia National Guard, Virginia Department of Emergency Management, and Virginia Department of Health will all have a presence in the city.
Northam is urging locals to "make alternative plans to engaging with planned demonstrations of hate." The state, he added, "continues to mourn the three Virginians who lost their lives in the course of the demonstrations a year ago. We hope the anniversary of those events passes peacefully." Catherine Garcia