Wednesday morning Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell released a statement about a planned white supremacist march in Lexington, Kentucky:
The white supremacist, KKK, and neo-nazi groups who brought hatred and violence to Charlottesville are now planning a rally in Lexington. Their messages of hate and bigotry are not welcome in Kentucky and should not be welcome anywhere in America.
We can have no tolerance for an ideology of racial hatred. There are no good neo-nazis, and those who espouse their views are not supporters of American ideals and freedoms. We all have a responsibility to stand against hate and violence, wherever it raises its evil head.
McConnell is reacting to plans announced Tuesday by some of the same groups that marched in Charlottesville to hold a rally against moving Confederate monuments in Lexington. From the Lexington Herald Leader:
Matthew Heimbach, chairman of the Traditionalist Worker Party, said his group is discussing plans for the rally with others allied under an umbrella organization called the Nationalist Front…
He said Lexington Mayor Jim Gray’s push to move the statues is part of a larger effort in the United States and elsewhere to erase white heritage, culture and identity…
Gray announced his plan to move the statues Saturday, hours after a deadly clash in Charlottesville, Va., between white nationalists and counter-protesters over plans to remove a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.
There’s no mention of Trump in McConnell’s statement but the line, “There are no good neo-nazis” sounds like a subtle response to Trump’s statement yesterday that there were some “very fine people” at the Charlottesville protest. Trump did say bluntly Tuesday that neo-nazis and white nationalists “should be condemned” however he also suggested there were others at the white nationalist march who should not be condemned. McConnell’s statement is more clear cut. Everyone who would attend the Lexington white nationalist march is no good and not wanted.
Privately, a source tells CNN that McConnell is upset with the president’s remarks about Charlottesville:
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who has been publicly silent so far over President Donald Trump’s latest remarks on Charlottesville, is privately upset with the President’s handling of the episode, according to a source close to the Kentucky Republican….
McConnell, who has a long history of working on civil rights issues, is deeply concerned that Trump is reopening long-festering racial tensions, something that could fan the flames ahead of demonstrations expected in Lexington, Kentucky, the source told CNN.
The story adds that McConnell is trying to avoid starting a public fight with Trump especially after Trump criticized him last week for failure to pass Obamacare repeal.