Former President George W. Bush (R) talks to his father President George H.W. Bush during the opening ceremony of the George W. Bush Presidential Center April 25, 2013 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
Eric Webb, Austin American-Statesman
Two former presidents have joined the growing chorus of political voices directly condemning racial bigotry in the wake of a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville.
Former Presidents George H.W. and George W. Bush released a statement on Wednesday morning, addressing the past weekend’s violence. Their joint statement comes less than a day after a news conference by President Donald Trump exacerbated mounting outrage over his response to the incident, which critics said bolstered white supremacist groups.
"America must always reject racial bigotry, anti-Semitism, and hatred in all forms,” the presidents said in the statement. “As we pray for Charlottesville, we are reminded of the fundamental truths recorded by that city’s most prominent citizen in the Declaration of Independence: we are all created equal and endowed by our Creator with unalienable rights. We know these truths to be everlasting because we have seen the decency and greatness of our country.”
The statement was tweeted by Jim McGrath, spokesman for the elder Bush and his wife, Barbara.
On Tuesday, Trump doubled down on blaming “both sides” for the violence on Saturday, effectively equating the anti-racism protesters who showed up in Charlottesville with the neo-Nazis, Ku Klux Klan members and white nationalists who had gathered to rally in the city.
Saturday’s violence left an anti-racism protester, Heather Heyer, dead after James Alex Fields Jr., an Ohio man, ran his car into a crowd of protesters. Fields has been charged with second-degree murder.