CT Leaders React to Violence at Virginia White Nationalist Rally

Connecticut leaders are joining voices across the country in denouncing the violence that broke out in Charlottesville, Va., when white nationalists clashed with counter-protesters Saturday.

At least one person was killed and nineteen injured when a car plowed into a crowd of people who were peacefully protesting a “Unite the Right” white supremacist rally in downtown Charlottesville.

The incident happened about two hours after violent clashes broke out between white nationalists, who descended on the town to rally against the city's plans to remove a statue of the Confederal Gen. Robert E. Lee, and others who arrived to protest the racism.

Hundreds of people chanted, threw punches, hurled water bottles and unleashed chemical sprays. At least 15 people were injured and one arrested in connection to the earlier violence, officials said.

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe declared a state of emergency, and police dressed in riot gear ordered people out.

Connecticut leaders are responding to the situation with strong words condemning the display as an expression of hatred and racism.

Gov. Dannel Malloy tweeted that "there is no place for hatred, bigotry, or violence" in our nation.

Later he released a detailed statement:

“As an American, I am disgusted by the violence incited and perpetrated in Charlottesville. The hatred and xenophobia of white nationalists is sickening, and the loss of a life is beyond tragic.

What’s also tragic and unacceptable is the silent complicity from the highest office in our land. This horror is not being wrought from ‘many sides,’ as the President says. It is coming from one side, and the President has never unequivocally denounced that side throughout his campaign or presidency. Instead, he has incited violence in his speeches, sought to divide people, diminished the rights of minority groups, and instigated fear.

Compassionate, sensible individuals cannot remain silent in these moments. We must combat this hatred in every form.”

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D) released a strongly worded statement against President Donald Trump's press conference held earlier in the day.

“President Trump's words today were nothing more than a dog whistle to the people whose hateful ideologies spurred violence that left one dead and many more injured. Our leaders must condemn hate and bigotry in no uncertain terms, consistently, repeatedly and unequivocally. President Trump’s failure to specifically denounce the racist, bigoted, white supremacist groups who organized today’s rally speaks volumes. Hate and violence have no place in our democracy. I stand with all Americans against today's disgusting display of bigotry. That is not who we are.”

JR Romano, chairman of the Connecticut Republican Party, also released a statement, which read in part:

"The events that have unfolded in Charlottesville are not only tragic they're painful. Those who espouse the values of white supremacy, racism and bigotry are not American values they aren't our values. In the face of hate we must show love. We are encouraging people from around our state and the country to engage in acts of kindness with your neighbors and your community."

Sen. Chris Murphy (D) also spoke out against the violence with an official statement.

"What has happened in Charlottesville over the last 24 hours should be a call to action for every American who has grown complacent under the assumption that our nation's moral arc naturally bends toward inclusion and tolerance,” wrote Murphy. “Racism, anti-Semitism and homophobia are tragically alive and well in America today. And make no mistake – these insidious psychologies have been given license to be brought out in the open air by a president that openly seized upon these hatreds during his campaign, and continues to traffic in divisive rhetoric and hateful policies in the White House.

Today, every leader of national or local significance must condemn the neo-Nazi rallies in Virginia, and the attack on counter-protesters, in the loudest and most unconditional terms. Ours is a nation whose greatness has been forged in the tough work of binding together peoples of different skin color, national origin, religion, and sexual orientation into one great powerful whole. Silence or weak condemnation will be rightly read as complicity with this newly emboldened racist movement. Further, as images travel the globe of what are reportedly anti-black, anti-Jew militias patrolling the streets of Charlottesville who are masquerading as law enforcement and brandishing military grade tactical weaponry, we need to take stock of whether our laws meet the new public safety challenges that confront our nation.”

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