President Donald Trump condemned the outbreak of violence at a rally of white supremacists in Virginia, saying there was “no place” for hate and non-peaceful conflict in America.
As the state’s governor declared a state of emergency to quell the growing conflict in Charlottesville, Trump said via Twitter that the country “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!”
Saturday’s confrontation was the latest escalation of a conflict that arose earlier this year, when the city since it voted to remove a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee from a downtown park.
Vice President Mike Pence echoed the president’s plea for calm, saying that the United States “is greatest when we join together & oppose those seeking to divide us.”
Trump and Pence’s remarks came as politicians from both major parties denounced the rally’s intolerance. Florida Senator Marco Rubio, a 2016 contender for the GOP nomination, posted on Twitter that there was “nothing patriotic” about the rally’s participants, adding that their beliefs stood in “direct opposite of what America should be.”
The conflict reached a crescendo on Friday evening, when supporters who identify as ‘alt-right’—a key constituency of Trump’s electoral base that helped usher him into the White House—took to the streets carrying torches. They clashed with counter-protesters, exchanging insults and at some points throwing punches and hurling water bottles.
–The Associated Press contributed to this article.