(CNSNews.com) – Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, told CNN’s “State of the Union with Jake Tapper” on Sunday that President Donald Trump has done a great job calling out radical Islamic terrorism around the world. Now he must do the same with the evil of “white nationalism” over the weekend in Charlottesville, Va.
“This president has done an incredible job of naming terrorism around the globe as evil - radical Islamic terrorism - whether it's in Europe or the Middle East. He has said and called it out time and time again, and this president needs to do exactly that today. Call this white supremacism, this white nationalism evil, and let the country hear it. Let the world hear it. It's something that needs to come from the Oval Office, and this White House needs to do it today,” Gardner said.
In a speech Saturday prior to the signing of the VA Choice and Quality Employment Act, the president reacted to the violence in Charlottesville, saying, “We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence, on many sides. On many sides. It's been going on for a long time in our country. Not Donald Trump, not Barack Obama. This has been going on for a long, long time.
“It has no place in America. What is vital now is a swift restoration of law and order and the protection of innocent lives. No citizen should ever fear for their safety and security in our society, and no child should ever be afraid to go outside and play, or be with their parents, and have a good time,” Trump said.
The president said he spoke with Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, and they agreed “that the hate and the division must stop, and must stop right now. We have to come together as Americans with love for our nation and true affection -- really -- and I say this so strongly -- true affection for each other.”
When asked what he thought of Trump’s speech and whether the president condemned white supremacists, Gardner said, “Well, this is not a time for vagary. This isn't a time for innuendo or to allow room to be read between the lines. This is a time to lay blame. They lay blame on bigotry and to lay blame on white supremacists, on white nationalism and on hatred, and that needs to be said.”
Tapper said critics believe the president doesn’t use the term “white supremacists” when describing what happened Saturday “because he might believe that these white supremacists are a part of his base, not, obviously, his entire base, but a part of his base, and he doesn’t want to risk alienating them.”
Gardener said white supremacists and white nationalists are not a part of anybody’s base.
“They're not a part of this country. They are a part of hatred. They're a part of bigotry. They're a part of evil, and we need to stand up to that, and so whether it's the president of the United States, a senator from any of our great 50 states around the country or our city councils and mayors, school teachers, call it for what it is. It's hatred. It's bigotry,” he said.
Gardner emphasized that the Republican Party doesn’t want white supremacists in their base.
“We don't want them in our base. They shouldn't be in a base. They shouldn't be claimed as part of a base and it has to be made crystal clear,” he said.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) also called on the president to call the events in Charlottesville “a terror attack by white supremacists.”
“Very important for the nation to hear @potus describe events in #Charlottesville for what they are, a terror attack by #whitesupremacists” Rubio tweeted.
Meanwhile, Vice President Mike Pence, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders all used the term “white supremacists” in condemning the violence in Charlottesville.