Something that many people no doubt thought had gone underground for good reared its ugly head once more in Charlottesville, Virginia, this weekend, as thousands of white nationalists rallied to protest the city’s plans to remove a number of statues honoring Confederate war icons.
These white nationalists were met with an unsurprisingly substantial protest crowd, and these two groups meeting led to violence that ended with three people dead.
One of those to have died, 32 year old Heather Heyer, was struck by a car and killed after 20 year old Trump supporter James Alex Fields Jr. rammed his grey Dodge Challenger into a crowd. Besides the one death, nineteen other people were injured — some seriously — from that incident.
Fields’ mother has now spoken out, following her son’s arrest on charges of second degree murder.
Samantha Bloom told the Associated Press on Saturday that she didn’t know what exactly her son was going to in Virginia.
— CBS News (@CBSNews) August 13, 2017
Speaking of the event, she said:
‘I thought it had something to do with Trump. Trump’s not a white supremacist.’
The event was, in fact, a rally of white supremacists coming together to protest the removal of Confederate statues, as mentioned.
The fact that she claims to have had the impression that the event her son was attending had to do with Trump as a person and not white supremacy as a movement shows yet again just how intensely the two are intertwined. Trump’s rise to power allowed for white supremacist movements to move to the front of the national political conversation yet again.
As recently as Saturday, neo-Nazis said that they were emboldened by the president’s remarks, since he refused to explicitly condemn them while responding to the violence in Charlottesville.
Additionally, Trump has repeatedly called for violence against left wing protesters at his rallies, making a clear line of progression from Donald Trump to those white supremacists who lashed out and brutalized anti-fascist protesters.
As for Fields, the FBI has reportedly opened an investigation into whether or not he can be charged with a hate crime, and he is already facing charges of second-degree murder, malicious wounding, failure to stop for an accident involving a death, and hit-and-run.
U.S. Senator Ted Cruz, of all people, has suggested that Fields should be charged with terrorism. He’s certainly not alone in his take on the situation; it’s simply noteworthy for these comments to come from someone so closely aligned with grassroots far right movements in America.
Trump, for his part, has been reluctant to call out white supremacists, as mentioned. On Sunday, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe commented to reporters that the president “needs to come out stronger” against those gathered in Charlottesville, saying:
‘They are Nazis and they are here to hurt American citizens, and he needs to call them out for what they are, no question.’
Besides the incident where Fields rammed his car into a crowd, violence in Charlottesville over the past few days has left at least fifteen people injured. Additionally, a police helicopter that was hovering over the riots crashed and killed two officers who were on board.
Featured Image via Matthew Hatcher/ Getty Images