'Not my president': Lawmakers call Trump comments 'disgraceful'

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The president's insistence Tuesday that there is "blame on both sides" for the deadly violence last weekend in Charlottesville drew strong rebukes from members of Congress, including from Hawaii's representatives.

"This is not my president," said U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, on Twitter. "As a Jew, as an American, as a human, words cannot express my disgust and disappointment."

As of Tuesday afternoon, the message has been retweeted more than 17,000 times and liked by more than 48,000.

Also on Twitter, U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, D-Hawaii, called Trump's comments "defiant, indignant and disgraceful."

She told Hawaii News Now that Trump's remarks were "damaging" because they legitimize racial violence and hatred.

"How long has it taken for this country to come to the point where they realize that the KKK did not represent ... America? And now, this president is basically opening the door to that again," she said.

Hanabusa added, "There is something fundamentally wrong with the way he is evaluating the situation."

And U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, said the president "does not serve all Americans."

"The president continues to walk back condemning violence-prone white supremacist groups," she said, on Twitter. "Bringing our country together will be up to each of us; he will be no help."

Violence broke out Saturday in Charlottesville, a picturesque college town, after a loosely connected mix of white nationalists, neo-Nazis and other far-right extremists assembled for the largest gathering of its kind in a decade.

Heather Heyer, 32, was killed when a man plowed his car into a crowd of counter-protesters. Also killed were two police officers who were responding to the scene by helicopter.

TRANSCRIPT: Read the president's full remarks here.

In the wake of Trump's comments Tuesday, Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe said "Neo-Nazis, Klansmen and white supremacists came to Charlottesville heavily armed, spewing hatred and looking for a fight. One of them murdered a young woman in an act of domestic terrorism, and two of our finest officers were killed in a tragic accident while serving to protect this community. This was not 'both sides.'"

McAuliffe added that the nation needs "real leadership, starting with our president."

At Trump Tower on Tuesday, the president took a combative tone, angrily blaming liberal groups in addition to white supremacists for the violence.

"There are two sides to a story," he said. He added that some facts about the violence still aren't known.

When asked whether Heyer's death was a terrorist attack, Trump said, "There is a question. Is it murder? Is it terrorism?"

"And then you get into legal semantics. The driver of the car is a murderer and what he did was a horrible, horrible, inexcusable thing."

Trump said he had yet to call Heyer's mother, said that he would soon "reach out." He praised her for what he said was a nice statement about him on social media.

As Trump finally walked away from his lectern, he stopped to answer one more shouted question: Would be plan to visit Charlottesville? The president's response was to note that he owned property there and to say it was one of the largest wineries in the United States.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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