(CNSNews.com) – In an impromptu speech at the White House on Monday, President Donald Trump specifically called out white supremacists and the Ku Klux Klan in the wake of the violence in Charlottesville, Va.
The president said anyone who commits violence in the name of racism are “criminals and thugs,” and specifically named the KKK, white supremacists, and neo-Nazis.
“Racism is evil, and those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs, including the KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and other hate groups that are repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans,” Trump said.
He said he met Monday with FBI Director Christopher Wray and Attorney General Jeff Sessions and announced that the Department of Justice has opened a civil rights investigation into what happened in Charlottesville, Va., over the weekend.
He said anyone “who acted criminally” will be “held fully accountable” and that “justice will be delivered.”
“As I said on Saturday, we condemn in the strongest possible terms, this egregious display of hatred, bigotry, and violence. It has no place in America, and as I have said many times before, no matter the color of your skin, we all live under the same laws. We all salute the same great flag, and we are all made by the same almighty God,” the president said.
“We must love each other, show affection for each other, and unite together in condemnation of hatred, bigotry and violence. We must rediscover the bonds of love and loyalty that bring us together as Americans,” he added.
The president said the nation was “founded on the truth that all of us are created equal” and that “we are equal in the eyes of our creator.” He added that “we are equal under the law” and “under our Constitution.” He said those that “spread violence in the name of bigotry, strike at the very core of America.
The president paid homage to Heather Heyer, who was killed when a car driven by a member of a white supremacist group mowed her down, injuring more than a dozen others in Charlottesville.
“Two days ago, a young American woman, Heather Heyer, was tragically killed. Her death fills us with grief, and we send her family our thoughts, our prayers, and our love,” Trump said.
The president also paid homage to the two Virginia state troopers who were killed riding in a helicopter doing surveillance work during the protests.
“We also mourn the two Virginia state troopers who died in service to their community, their commonwealth, and their country. Troopers Jay Cullen and Berke Bates exemplify the best of America, and our hearts go out to their families, their friends, and every member of American law enforcement,” Trump said. “These three fallen Americans embody the goodness and decency of our nation.
“In times such as these, America has always shown its true character, responding to hate with love, division with unity, and violence with unwavering resolve for justice,” he said.
The president said that as a candidate he pledged to “restore law and order” and said that the nation’s law enforcement agencies “are following through on that pledge.”
“We will spare no resource in fighting so that every American child can grow up free from violence and fear. We will defend and protect the sacred rights of all Americans, and we will work together so that every citizen in this blessed land is free to follow their dreams in their hearts, and to express the love and joy in their souls,” he said.