Political Insider

An AJC blog about Atlanta politics, Georgia politics, Georgia and metro Atlanta election campaigns. Because all politics is local.

Georgia GOP lawmakers condemn white supremacists but steer clear of Trump

Several of Georgia's Republican members of Congress condemned the white supremacists, nationalists and members of the Ku Klux Klan whose rally in Charlottesville, Va., turned deadly over the weekend. But all on Tuesday evening steered clear of criticizing President Donald Trump directly, even after a particularly testy news conference in which the commander-in-chief doubled down on his initial claim that "both sides," including the "alt-left," were responsible for the violence.

Some GOP lawmakers late Tuesday chose to stand behind their earlier comments denouncing the violence and the ideology of those hate groups, while others made no public statements at all.

None took on Trump directly, as some Republicans in other states have in recent days. Meanwhile, David Scott of Atlanta was the only House Democrat to offer fresh criticism of Trump, arguing the president needs to "seize this moment."

Here's what the delegation had to say in the hours after the president's press conference at Trump Tower:

Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga., on Twitter Tuesday evening: "KKK, neo-Nazi, & white supremacist groups spew bigotry & racism. These groups & their ideals are the antithesis of American patriotism."

Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga.: Spokeswoman pointed to comments Isakson made at his Monday town hall and during a speech in Macon earlier in the day. “Charlottesville just may have been a warning shot to all of us not to look the other way," Isakson told attendees of a Georgia Chamber-sponsored luncheon on Tuesday. "...I’m going to see to it that the hate, the bitterness, the picture that was painted in Charlottesville is not painted anywhere else in this country or any other country on the face of this earth,"

Rep. Sanford Bishop, D-Albany. Spokesman directed us to an earlier post on Facebook: "I am heartbroken over the lives lost this weekend due to the hateful and violent protests by white supremacists and Neo-Nazis in Charlottesville. Of the millions of Americans who fought Nazism in World War II, hundreds of thousands died or were wounded. The beliefs of Nazis were and remain evil. We must stand together against such evil and continue to love one another...."

Rep. Drew Ferguson, R-West Point, on Twitter Tuesday evening: "There must be no ambiguity. White supremacists, Neo-Nazis and the alt-right have no place in our society... As Americans we must always fight against bigotry and hatred in all its forms."

Rep. Rob Woodall, R-Lawrenceville: “Hate, racism, and violence are vile and have no place in American society.  President Trump was right when he said that ‘Racism is evil. And those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs, including the KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists and other hate groups that are repugnant to everything that we hold dear as Americans.’”

Rep. Doug Collins, R-Gainesville: Spokeswoman directed us to an official statement released Monday: “Americans are grieving for the pain and violence that flowed out of Charlottesville this weekend, and I join them in rejecting racism and white nationalism as abhorrent. Our belief in universal human dignity continues to undergird this nation and to be incompatible with such hateful prejudice. I believe condemning bigotry is a necessary step in tilling the ground for peace, respect and love to deepen their roots in all of our communities.”

Rep. Jody Hice, R-Monroe, on Twitter: "I was clear about this violence and bigotry over the weekend, and I'll say it again: There is no place for hate and racism in America."

Rep. Rick Allen, R-Evans, in a statement: "I strongly condemn the violence in Charlottesville. The bigotry and hatred spread by white supremacists are the antithesis of all we stand for as Americans. Please keep the victims and their loved ones in your thoughts and prayers."

Rep. David Scott, D-Atlanta, on Twitter Tuesday evening: "There is no moral equivalence between the KKK, Neo-Nazis, and white supremacists, and those who are standing up to them for the freedom and equality of all. The President must show leadership in understanding and underscoring the threat these groups pose to our nation..."

Rep. Tom Graves, R-Ranger: Spokesman directed your Insiders to earlier comments posted to Facebook: "As the Declaration of Independence boldly declares, 'all men are created equal.' White supremacy is evil, and inconsistent with the purpose and founding of America and has no place in our society. Furthermore, violence and hatred from any group, towards anybody, at any time is not who we are..."


Abrams calls for removal of Confederate faces off Stone Mountain

This is not my Charlottesville. Hate doesn’t win in my hometown.

In Atlanta, defiance from protesters in Charlottesville’s wake

Reader Comments ...

About the Author

Tamar Hallerman is The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Washington correspondent, covering Congress, federal agencies and other government activities that impact Georgia.