(CNSNews.com) – The NAACP said Friday that while it was pleased by President Trump’s decision to let Chief Strategist Steve Bannon go from the administration, isn’t enough to “erase” the words he used this week to defend domestic neo-Nazis and white supremacists.
“The NAACP is glad to see Steve Bannon out of the White House,” Derrick Johnson, interim president and CEO of the NAACP, said in a statement. “Ousting one key staffer, however, can’t erase the words used by President Trump this week in defense of domestic terrorists, neo-Nazis and white supremacists.”
“President Trump provided permission for these hate groups to exist. Following the travesty in Charlottesville, Virginia, numerous other rallies and white supremacist groups are being mobilized across the country.These groups are not rallying for peace, or for the preservation of Confederate memorabilia.They exist purely to foment hatred and violence. And they march with the president’s blessing,” Johnson added.
On Saturday, Trump condemned “the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence, on many sides.” His use of the words “on many sides” and the fact that he didn’t use the words “white supremacists” sparked outrage.
He followed those comments with a statement on Monday from the White House, calling racism “evil,” adding that “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 we hold dear as Americans.”
Then on Tuesday, the president addressed the controversy while taking questions from reporters at Trump Tower, where he gathered with members of his administration to talk about infrastructure.
“Yes, I think there’s blame on both sides. If you look at both sides — I think there’s blame on both sides, and I have no doubt about it, and you don’t have any doubt about it either,” he said at the time.
Trump said there were people mixed in with both the protesters and counter-protesters who were “fine people,” but there were also “troublemakers.”
“And you had people — and I’m not talking about the neo-Nazis and the white nationalists — because they should be condemned totally, but you had many people in that group other than neo-Nazis and white nationalists. Okay? And the press has treated them absolutely unfairly,” he said.
“Now, in the other group also, you had some fine people, but you also had troublemakers, and you see them come with the black outfits and with the helmets, and with the baseball bats. You had a lot of bad people in the other group,” Trump added.
Johnson said the president “must denounce in words and in deeds these white supremacists and urge them to stop their senseless rallies and killings and unlawful demonstrations.”
He called on Trump to “remove the people who share Steve Bannon’s poisonous beliefs from the White House, including Stephen Miller and Sebastian Gorka.
“President Trump needs to send a clear message to our great country: That his administration disavows bigotry in all of its forms, and that racist ideologies simply will not be tolerated,” Johnson said.