Colorado officials, politicians react to violence surrounding white nationalist rally in Virginia
Author: Ernest Luning - August 13, 2017 - Updated: August 13, 2017
Colorado officials, candidates and organizations reacted with anger, derision and sadness to the violence that occurred Saturday in Charlottesville, Va., where white nationalists, neo-Nazis, skinheads, members of the Ku Klux Klan and other white supremacist groups gathered to protest the removal of a Confederate statue.
One woman was dead and dozens injured after a car plowed into a crowd of counter-protesters on Saturday, and two state police officers died when the helicopter they were piloting over the rallies and counter-protesters crashed.
Colorado’s two senators, Democrat Michael Bennet and Republican Cory Gardner, denounced the rally and the ensuing violence on Twitter Saturday, calling it “deeply disturbing” and “contrary to all we stand for as a country.”
After President Donald Trump condemned “this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides, on many sides,” at an impromptu news conference from his New Jersey golf club, Bennet and Gardner criticized Trump for failing to explicitly condemn white supremacists and others associated with the alt-right movement even as prominent figures in the movement embraced Trump.
On Sunday, Gardner went further, demanding that Trump “lay blame on white nationalists and on hatred” in an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper.
Other reactions to the events poured in from Colorado officials and politicians.
“My heart goes out to the peaceful counter protesters whose voices of inclusivity and diversity were silenced by an extreme act of violence. Bigotry and hatred have no place in our country and we must emphasize our inclusive, diverse, and bright future.”
My heart goes out to the peaceful counter protesters whose voices of inclusivity and diversity were silenced by an extreme act of violence
— Jared Polis (@jaredpolis) August 12, 2017
Bigotry and hatred have no place in our country and we must emphasize our inclusive, diverse, and bright future @USProgressives
— Jared Polis (@jaredpolis) August 12, 2017
U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton, a Cortez Republican, tweeted his disapproval as the events unfolded: “All Americans have the right to peaceful protest and free speech, but there is no room for violence in our society. #Charlottesville”
All Americans have the right to peaceful protest and free speech, but there is no room for violence in our society. #Charlottesville
— Rep. Scott Tipton (@RepTipton) August 12, 2017
U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman, an Aurora Republican, lamented the violence and called for condemning its instigators. “Heartbroken to hear about loss of life in today’s domestic terror attack in #Charlottesville. Evil, no matter its face, must be condemned,” he wrote in a tweet.
Heartbroken to hear about loss of life in today's domestic terror attack in #Charlottesville. Evil, no matter its face, must be condemned.
— Rep. Mike Coffman (@RepMikeCoffman) August 12, 2017
U.S. Rep. Ken Buck, a Windsor Republican, tore into white supremacists and their ideology in a tweet. “White supremacists are ignorant and hateful. All Americans must unite against racial intolerance and bigoted ideology,” he wrote.
White supremacists are ignorant and hateful. All Americans must unite against racial intolerance and bigoted ideology.
— Congressman Ken Buck (@RepKenBuck) August 13, 2017
U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette, a Denver Democrat, called the violence “domestic terrorism” and issued a call to action in a tweet.
Domestic terrorism in #Charlottesville must not go unanswered. America, we are better than this.
— Rep. Diana DeGette (@RepDianaDeGette) August 12, 2017
U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter, an Arvada Democrat, called the events “outrageous” and urged everyone to call out the “shameful racism” in a tweet.
This is outrageous. Everyone should stand up and call out this shameful racism & fight against it. #Charlottesville
— Rep. Ed Perlmutter (@RepPerlmutter) August 12, 2017
Colorado legislative leaders voiced dismay and outrage, as well.
House Speaker Crisanta Duran, D-Denver, wrote on Twitter, “Not in America. We must denounce racism, white supremacy & domestic terrorism. We are better than this.”
— Crisanta Duran (@crisantaduran) August 12, 2017
House Assistant Minority Leader Cole Wist, R-Centennial, retweeted Duran’s remarks and added his own: “Standing in solidarity with @crisantaduran and my #coleg colleagues against hatred, racism and bigotry. May God heal our land.”
— Cole Wist (@colewist) August 13, 2017
Sunday Duran tweeted from a march in downtown Denver.
— Crisanta Duran (@crisantaduran) August 13, 2017
Sen. Owen Hill, R-Colorado Springs, also a candidate for Congress in the 5th Congressional District, posted a brief video clip from “The Sound of Music” on Twitter depicting Captain Georg von Trapp tearing up a Nazi flag, as a commenter to this post pointed out.
— Owen Hill (@owenjhill) August 13, 2017
Rep. Dan Nordberg, R-Colorado Springs, called the actions of white supremacists in Charlottesville revolting and “contrary to what it means to be an American.”
“Let us never forget that our country was founded on premise ‘that all men are created equal’ & ‘endowed by our Creator,'” Nordberg tweeted. “I pray God heals the divisions in our nation so that we may unite behind those principles once again.”
— Dan Nordberg (@RepNordberg) August 13, 2017
State Rep. Leslie Herod, D-Denver, a legislative activist for civil rights, strongly condemned the violence Saturday.
“In the face of such an abhorrent, violent, and open display of racism, we must stand together to drive out this darkness,” she said.
In the face of such an abhorrent, violent, and open display of racism, we must stand together to drive out this darkness. #Charlottesville
— Leslie Herod (@leslieherod) August 12, 2017
Sen. Pete Lee, D-Colorado Springs, took to Facebook to condemn “the violence, racism and white supremacist language.”
“There is no place in our nation for this type bigotry and hatred,” he wrote. “The exercise of free speech rights does not include threats, calls for violence or hate speech. Our national leaders at the all levels must condemn this type of conduct and demonstrate their commitment to inclusion, diversity and respectful dialogue.”
— Colorado Politics senior political correspondent Joey Bunch and the Associated Press contributed to this report.