BEDMINSTER, New Jersey — US President Donald Trump’s national security adviser said Sunday the violence that broke out in Charlottesville, Virginia, “meets the definition of terrorism.”
H.R. McMaster told ABC’s “This Week” that “anytime that you commit an attack against people to incite fear, it is terrorism.”
One person died Saturday when a car rammed into a crowd of counter-protesters in Charlottesville as tensions boiled over at a white supremacist rally.
McMaster called it “a criminal act against fellow Americans. A criminal act that may have been motivated — and we’ll see what’s turned up in this investigation — by this hatred and bigotry, which I mentioned we have to extinguish in our nation.”
His comments came shortly after Trump’s daughter and adviser Ivanka Trump condemned white supremacists and the neo-Nazi movement who marched in the city.
She tweeted, “There should be no place in society for racism, white supremacy and neo-nazis.”
The president’s daughter also tweeted Sunday morning — a day after the clashes — that “we must all come together as Americans — and be one country UNITED.”
Her father didn’t call out white supremacists and neo-Nazis in his public comments on Saturday after the disturbances, blaming the clashes between white supremacists and protesters “on many sides.”
Trump also contended that the “hatred and bigotry” broadcast across the country had taken root long before his political ascendancy. Trump’s comments drew criticism from Republicans and Democrats who said he should be denouncing hate groups by name.
The president, on a working vacation at his New Jersey golf club, had intended to speak briefly at a ceremony marking the signing of bipartisan legislation to aid veterans, but he quickly found that those plans were overtaken by the escalating violence in the Virginia college town.
White nationalists had assembled in Charlottesville to vent their frustration against the city’s plans to take down a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee. Counter-protesters massed in opposition. A few hours after violent encounters between the two groups, a car drove into a crowd of people peacefully protesting the rally, killing a 32-year-old woman. The driver was later taken into custody.