Trump calls out white supremacists, neo-Nazis and KKK as ‘criminals and thugs’

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WASHINGTON, D.C. — President Donald Trump condemned the KKK, neo-Nazis and white supremacists as “criminals and thugs” and said “racism is evil” on Monday, speaking about the weekend’s race-fueled violence in Charlottesville, Virginia.

The impromptu remarks came after his first comments about the deadly protests were met with criticism that they did not single out white supremacists, neo-Nazis or any other hate group, even as Republican lawmakers and others in his White House did condemn them by name. He has come under fire for saying that “many sides” were to blame for the violence.

The president’s comments on Monday began with him touting the unemployment rate, the “optimism” of businesses and his administration’s efforts to create jobs.

He then went on to denounce what happened in Virginia, where one woman was killed Saturday when a car plowed into a group of counter-protesters who’d gathered to oppose a rally by white nationalists and others who oppose a plan to remove from a Charlottesville park of a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.

Trump said the Department of Justice has opened a civil rights investigation into the car attack.