Colorado senators Michael Bennet, Cory Gardner denounce violent white nationalist rally in Virginia

Author: Ernest Luning - August 12, 2017 - Updated: August 12, 2017

White nationalist demonstrators walk into Lee park surrounded by counter demonstrators in Charlottesville, Virginia, on Saturday, Aug. 12, 2017. Gov. Terry McAuliffe declared a state of emergency and police dressed in riot gear ordered people to disperse after chaotic violent clashes between white nationalists and counter protestors. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)White nationalist demonstrators wave a Confederate flag at a demonstration that turned deadly in Charlottesville, Virginia Aug. 12. The same banner sparked a racial incident at a high school football game in Denver last weekend. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

Colorado’s two U.S. senators, Democrat Michael Bennet and Republican Cory Gardner, condemned the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, on Saturday, calling it “deeply disturbing” and “contrary to all we stand for as a country.”

Politicians across the country and on both sides of the aisle denounced the “Unite the Right” rally, organized by a “pro-white” blogger and members of the so-called alt-right movement to protest the city’s decision to remove a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee from a park. Virginia’s governor declared a state of emergency after a torch-lit march turned violent Friday night and clashes erupted between white nationalists and counter-protesters Saturday.

Bennet and Gardner took to Twitter with their criticism.

“The events in VA are contrary to all we stand for as a country. Embrace inclusion, celebrate differences — that’s the America we believe in,” Bennet tweeted.

“The hate being spewed in Virginia has no place in this country. It’s deeply disturbing and un-American,” Gardner said in a tweet Saturday morning.

After Bennet and Gardner had posted their denunciations, a car plowed into a crowd of several hundred people peacefully protesting the white nationalists, injuring at least one person, the Associated Press reported.

On a working vacation at his New Jersey golf club, President Trump tweeted, “We ALL must be united & condemn all that hate stands for. There is no place for this kind of violence in America. Lets come together as one!”

The president also denounced the violence in Virginia in brief remarks streamed live on the White House Facebook page, speaking out against “this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Ernest Luning

Ernest Luning

Ernest Luning is a political correspondent for Colorado Politics. He has covered politics and government for newspapers and online news sites in Colorado for more than 25 years, including at the Highlands Ranch Herald, the Jefferson Sentinels chain of community newspapers and the Aurora Sentinel, where he was the city hall and cops reporter. After editing the Aurora Daily Sun, he was a political reporter and blogger for The Colorado Independent site. For nearly a decade, he was a senior political reporter and occasional editor at The Colorado Statesman before the 119-year-old publication merged with Colorado Politics in 2017.