U.S. Rep. Ralph Norman on Monday called the violence at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va. this weekend “a tragedy.”
Three people died and at least 35 were injured after a series of protests organized by white nationalists and counter demonstrations turned violent.
Norman, who is on a tour of South Carolina’s 5th District this month during a Congressional recess, said the news was “sad to say the least.”
Norman, a Republican from Rock Hill, is settling into the U.S. House of Representatives after being elected to fill the seat formerly held by Indian Land Republican Mick Mulvaney. Mulvaney resigned the seat to become President Donald Trump’s budget director earlier this spring.
Norman defended Trump’s recent comments on the Charlottesville violence. Trump decried violence “on many sides” in a press conference this weekend, but did not specifically call out white supremacist groups by name.
“I think the media ought to focus on the tragedy of what happened,” said Norman, speaking in Fort Mill. “He went on the air, he said he condemned hate on any level. They’re parsing his words, and I don’t think it’s fair criticism.”
Norman said Trump had appropriately condemned the tragedy, and said the issue landed on stopping racial-based violence in America.
“It has no place, intolerance and racism, in America at any level,” said Norman.
Two Virginia State Police troopers died when their helicopter crashed while hovering over the scene. Another woman was killed when a car plowed into a group of protesters.
James A. Field, Jr., 20, of Ohio, was taken into custody and charged with second-degree murder.