Scottish leaders condemn Trump comments on far-right groups

Written by Tom Freeman on 16 August 2017 in News

Donald Trump says both sides responsible for violence at fascist rally in Virginia which saw a woman killed

Donald Trump - PA

Scottish political leaders have openly criticised US President Donald Trump over remarks he has made about a fascist rally in Virginia.

One person was killed and more injured after violent clashes which included a car being driven into opponents of the gathering of far-right protesters.

The incident grew out of moves to remove a statue of a prominent pro-slavery Confederate general in the town of Charlottesville. White supremacist groups gathered in protest in the town and were met by anti-fascist demonstrators.

While condemning the driver of the car, Trump told reporters “I think there is blame on both sides,” at a press conference after he was asked to condemn the neo-nazi groups.

“You had a group on one side that was bad. You had a group on the other side that was also very violent. Nobody wants to say that. I’ll say it right now.”

He added members of what he called “the Alt-Left” were “very, very violent,” defending those who protested against the removal of the statues.

“Not all of those people were white supremacists by any stretch. Those people were also there because they wanted to protest the taking down of a statue,” he said.

“This week, it is Robert E. Lee. I noticed that Stonewall Jackson is coming down. I wonder, is it George Washington next week? And is it Thomas Jefferson the week after? You know, you really do have to ask yourself, where does it stop?”

Scotland’s First Minster Nicola Sturgeon reacted when former Klu Klux Klan leader David Duke praised Trump’s response.

“When the likes of David Duke praise you, you are on the wrong side. There are no 'fine' Nazis. We must all stand firm against far right.”

Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale tweeted: “Looking on in abject horror and fear of what happens next. Time for all those with power to condemn this directly and unequivocally to Trump Gov.”

UK Prime Minister Theresa May has been under pressure to condemn the remarks and cancel an invitation to Trump to pay Britain a state visit.

Sturgeon said: “Some issues are just too fundamental for diplomatic silence. This is one of them.”

Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson hit out at the president’s stance.

“The President of the United States has just turned his face to the world to defend Nazis, fascists and racists. For shame,” she said.

Scottish Green co-convener Patrick Harvie tweeted: “He's every bit the thug we all expected. We must call on all governments to hold him in contempt and stand with the people he threatens.”

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