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Rubio, Buckhorn, Gov. Scott and others respond to violence in Virginia and Trump's 'many sides' comment

By Times staff and wires
Published: August 13, 2017
A white nationalist demonstrator with a helmet and shield walks into Lee Park in Charlottesville, Va., on Saturday. Hundreds of people chanted, threw punches, hurled water bottles and unleashed chemical sprays on each other Saturday after violence erupted at a white nationalist rally. [Associated Press]

President Donald Trump blamed "many sides" for violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, in the wake of a white nationalist demonstration, drawing swift reactions.

Democrats and some Republicans called on him to specifically denounce white supremacy and racially motivated hate by name. Vice President Mike Pence supported the president's speech. A white supremacist website praised the comments.

Meanwhile, political figures from Florida and the Tampa Bay area weighed in on social media, some responding to Trump, and some with more general comments on the situation in Charlottesville.

What Trump said:

"We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides, on many sides," Trump said. "It's been going on for a long time in our country. Not Donald Trump. Not Barack Obama. It's been going on for a long, long time."

WATCH IT HERE: Trump says 'many sides' to blame for violence in Charlottesville


What Floridians are saying:

"Very important for the nation to hear @potus describe events in (hash)Charlottesville for what they are, a terror attack by #whitesupremacists" — Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., on Twitter.


"America's Mayors stand with Charlottesville Mayor @MikeSigner. No room for hate, bigotry and racism in our cities." "Make no mistake, what you saw in Charlottesville was the face of hate. The only difference was that 40 years ago the bigots wore bedsheets." — Tampa mayor Bob Buckhorn on Twitter.


"Racism has no place in America." — St. Petersburg mayoral candidate Rick Baker tweeted this statement as news broke of violence in Charlottesville, though didn't reference those events specifically.


"Disgusted by events in #Charlottesville. America's worst face." — St. Petersburg mayor Rick Kriseman.


"We must stand united as Americans in condemnation of the hate on display in Charlottesville. We are praying for an end to the violence and more peace & unity." "We must be very clear - FL stands against all forms of racism & bigotry. The hatred displayed in VA is dispicable & has no place in America." — Florida governor Rick Scott, a Republican.


Praying for officers in Charlottesville. Disgusted by white supremacists/evil/bigotry in VA

— Rick Scott (@FLGovScott) August 13, 2017



"The white supremacists and their bigotry do not represent our great country. All Americans should condemn this vile hatred. #Charlottesville." — Jeb Bush, former Republican governor of Florida


"Trump fails Presidential leadership test. Sickening not to condemn KKK, Nazis, alt-right, antisemites who marched and shouted 'Hail Trump'." — Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Fla., on Twitter.


"I condemn the hatred and lack of respect for others. It turned into fatal violence which must not be tolerated." Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., tweeted this statement as news broke of violence in Charlottesville, though didn't reference those events specifically.


"White supremacists, Neo-Nazis and anti-Semites are the antithesis of our American values. There are no other "sides" to hatred and bigotry." — Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., on Twitter.


"Racism and bigotry have no place anywhere, especially America. Today has been a disturbing, tragic day in Charlottesville. Unfortunately... The rhetoric of our President is part of the reason violence and hate is now being paraded and promoted in an American city." "It is incumbent on all of us to stand up and speak out, for all Americans, and against fascism, anarchy, hate, and violence." — Rep. Charlie Crist, D-Fla., on Twitter.


"We must fight against evil whatever form it takes: Nazism/racism/white supremacy! Praying for the victims and families. #Charlottesville." — Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran, a Republican, on Twitter.


"Hate is not welcome in this country, and it will not be tolerated. My prayers go out to the people of Charlottesville." — Adam Putnam, Florida Secretary of Agriculture, candidate for governor and Republican.


"When the President blames "many sides" for violence at this hateful demonstration, I will call him what he is: a weak and cowardly man." — Andrew Gillum, mayor of Tallahassee, candidate for governor and a Democrat.


COMING TO FLORIDA?: White nationalist Richard Spencer could speak at UF 

RELATED: Three dead after clashes between white supremacists and protesters


What others around the U.S. are saying:

"I'm not going to make any bones about it. I place the blame for a lot of what you're seeing in American today right at the doorstep of the White House and the people around the president." — Charlottesville Mayor Michael Signer, a Democrat.


"Mr. President - we must call evil by its name. These were white supremacists and this was domestic terrorism." — Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., on Twitter.


"@POTUS needs to speak out against the poisonous resurgence of white supremacy. There are not "many sides" here, just right and wrong." - Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., on Twitter.


"As @POTUS Trump said, "We have to come together as Americans with love for our nation... & true affection for each other." (hash)Charlottesville" — Vice President Mike Pence on Twitter.


"There is only one side. (hash)charlottesville" — Former Vice President Joe Biden on Twitter.


"Even as we protect free speech and assembly, we must condemn hatred, violence and white supremacy." — Former President Bill Clinton on Twitter.


"The violence, chaos, and apparent loss of life in Charlottesville is not the fault of "many sides." It is racists and white supremacists." — Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring, a Democrat.


"We reject the racism and violence of white nationalists like the ones acting out in Charlottesville. Everyone in leadership must speak out." — New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a Republican and Trump supporter.


"We should call evil by its name. My brother didn't give his life fighting Hitler for Nazi ideas to go unchallenged here at home. -OGH" — Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, on Twitter.


"We must ALL condemn domestic terror & stand together against racism, hate and evils that if left unchecked will tear us apart (hash)Charlottesville — Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., on Twitter.


"The President's talk of violence 'on many sides' ignores the shameful reality of white supremacism in our country today, and continues a disturbing pattern of complacency around such acts of hate." — House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.


"Trump comments were good. He didn't attack us. He just said the nation should come together. Nothing specific against us. ... No condemnation at all. When asked to condemn, he just walked out of the room. Really, really good. God bless him."

Daily Stormer, a white supremacist website promoting the Charlottesville demonstration as part of its Summer of Hate edition.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.