In response to the white nationalist protest staged in Charlottesville Saturday night, Fifth Congressional District Rep. Tom Garrett (R) released a statement Monday condemning the incident. His denunciation of the incident joins similar statements from gubernatorial candidates and other state leaders.
“The charade that took place in Charlottesville on Saturday night was either criminally naïve or an intentional image meant to stoke the bigotry and intolerance that our Commonwealth fought to bury decades ago,” Garrett said in the statement. “Unfortunately, I am under the impression that it was the latter and I have no sympathy for those who embrace it.”
Garrett’s statement further said collectivization based on race, or any characteristic, “has no home in republican principles.”
Like Garrett, Democratic gubernatorial candidates Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam and former Rep. Tom Perriello both spoke out against the protest via Twitter.
“This is more than disgusting ignorance at its worst -- this is a harmful retelling of Virginia’s past,” Perriello tweeted.
Perriello also delivered a speech in Lee Park Monday proposing Virginia end Lee-Jackson Day. He also said, if elected governor, he would work to start a commission on racial healing and transformation.
Northam tweeted his thanks at Charlottesville Mayor Mike Signer, and pledged his support for the cause of justice and equality.
“Thank you for defending our best values — those of us fighting for justice and equality have your back,” Northam tweeted.
Republican gubernatorial candidate Ed Gillespie tweeted a statement, saying “The ugly display of divisive rhetoric and intimidation tactics in Charlottesville yesterday … does not reflect the thoughtfulness and tolerance I see in my fellow Virginians everywhere I go.”
State Sen. Frank Wagner (R-Virginia Beach), another Republican gubernatorial candidate, also tweeted a short statement.
"These actions are totally unacceptable. They don’t represent Virginia values,” Wagner said in a tweet. “I condemn their actions and beliefs."
The third Republican gubernatorial candidate, Corey Stewart, has yet to condemn or publicly comment directly on the incident. In the past, he has pledged his support for the protection of confederate monuments such as the Robert E. Lee statue in Charlottesville, the proposed removal of which was the target of “alt-right” protest supported by Richard Spencer.
Stewart went on his campaign page’s Facebook Live Monday evening to denounce liberal politicians, but not the rally itself.
“I denounce bigotry and bigots, like Charlottesville City Councilman Wes Bellamy, who foment racial hatred,” Stewart said in a Facebook Live speech. “And I denounce hypocrites like Ralph Northam and Tom Perriello who refuse to acknowledge the long history of racism within the Democratic Party and who refuse to denounce racist Democrats like Wes Bellamy.”
Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) tweeted his disapproval of the incident and U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine (D) spoke to reporters condemning the rally Monday, though neither figure released written statements.
“Proud of Charlottesville for standing up to hate and fear this weekend,” McAuliffe tweeted. “Your fellow Virginians stand with you.”
Kaine similarly said he was proud of Charlottesville leaders’ responses.
“I was proud that Charlottesville city leaders stood up and said intolerance isn’t welcome in our town, it’s not welcome in Virginia,” Kaine said to reporters Monday. “We’ve had some painful history of intolerance, we’ve gotten over it and we’re not going back."
U.S. Sen. Mark Warner (D) also denounced the demonstration in a tweet linked to a Daily Progress article.
“For the record: Russia is not our friend, and hate has no place in Virginia,” Warner said in a tweet.