May condemns Trump’s response to Charlottesville… ignores calls to cancel his UK state visit
“I see no equivalence between those who propound fascist views and those who oppose them,” May said.
“I think it’s important for all those in positions of responsibility to condemn far right views wherever we hear them.”
Trump has been widely criticized for condemning “violence on all sides” rather than directly taking aim at far-right protesters, some of whom are his supporters. He claimed on Tuesday that both sides of the clash were “very violent” and that there were some “very fine” people on both sides.
The protest turned deadly when a car plowed into a group of counter-protesters, killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer. The crash resulted in at least 19 people being injured and Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe declaring a state of emergency.
Speaking to reporters on a visit to the new HMS Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier on Wednesday, the prime minister said: “As I made clear at the weekend following the horrendous scenes that we saw in Charlottesville, I absolutely abhor the racism, hatred and the violence that we have seen portrayed by these groups.
“The United Kingdom has taken action to ban far-right groups here, we have proscribed certain far-right groups here in the United Kingdom. And there is no equivalence.”
Two of May’s MPs, Sam Gyimah and Cabinet minister Sajid Javid, attacked Trump’s response in tweets on Wednesday.
Gyimah wrote: “The ‘leader of the free world’ loses moral authority when he cannot call fascism by its name.”
Javid tweeted that he had learnt as a child that neo-Nazis are “bad.”
Ruth Davidson, leader of the Scottish Conservatives, tweeted: “The president of the United States has just turned his face to the world to defend Nazis, fascists and racists. For shame.”
A number of Labour MPs have called on May to withdraw the state visit invitation extended to Trump in January.
Shadow Defense Secretary Nia Griffith tweeted: “A state visit by Donald Trump would shame this country and betray all we stand for. Theresa May should revoke the invitation immediately.”
Liberal Democrat leader Sir Vince Cable said it would be “completely wrong” for Trump’s state visit to go ahead.
“Donald Trump has shown he is unable to detach himself from the extreme right and racial supremacists,” he added.