As national Republicans speak out on President Donald Trump’s statements about the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, which occurred the weekend of Aug. 12, local Republicans are also weighing in.
Trump, who condemned hatred “on both sides” has been criticized for painting a false equivocation between Nazis, the KKK, and other racist groups, and the counter protesters who showed up in Charlottesville to oppose them.
On the day of the attacks, Aug. 12, which included one man driving a car into anti-white supremacist protesters, Trump condemned the violence and hatred “on many sides” but did not mention any white supremacist group by name. Two days later, Trump did condemn racism and call out the groups by name. The next day, Aug. 15, Trump reverted back to saying there was “blame on both sides.”
On Aug. 12, former Republican Congressman Mark Foley, a now-openly gay man, wrote on his Facebook page that the president needs to reject the hatred expressed by racist groups.
In an email to SFGN, Foley, who now lives in Palm Beach County, said Trump’s subsequent response was better, but late, but that he made things worse.
“We cannot condone nor tolerate any hate groups. And we cannot justify any group’s actions by trying to balance the blame. The old saying in politics is when you’re in a hole quit digging. He brought in a backhoe and caused further consternation and angst. These people hate his son-in-law and daughter and grandchildren because they are Jews. That alone should have been enough to clearly condemn these thugs."
Vincent Foster, president of the Miami-Dade Log Cabin Club, who has defended Trump in the past, also criticized him on Charlottesville.
Foster said Barack Obama was criticized by the GOP for not using the words Islamic terrorism and Trump deserves the same criticism for not using the words white nationalist terrorism.
“He needs to use those words. He needs to call it a terrorist attack.”
But Foster also turned around and criticized the LGBT community. This was an example, he said, of how LGBT people always defend minority communities but minority communities don’t defend the LGBT community enough.
“As a black man who is gay, I have a huge issue with the wider gay community taking such an issue with Charlottesville. Where are our minority allies? . . . I’m more afraid of minorities as a gay man than I am of white people as a black man. We need to acknowledge the fact that the Christian black community is more anti-gay than the white Christian community . . . It was a Muslim man from a mosque who shot up the Pulse Night Club. Homophobia isn’t a disease that only affects white people.”
He added that he’s also more afraid of being gay in a black neighborhood than being gay in a white neighborhood. “Is someone going to beat my ass [in a black neighborhood] because of that?”
Andy Eddy, a founding member of the Broward Log Cabin Republican Club in Wilton Manors, said he wasn’t happy with how Trump gave his response. “He sometimes doesn’t touch the heart and soul of the subject because he’s so quick to respond in a New York minute.” Eddy also criticized police in Charlottesville for not exercising better control in keeping the two sides further apart. In contrast, he commended the work police did in Boston at the rally held in that city.