On Tuesday, August 15th, 2017, Donald Trump stood in the lobby of Trump Tower and answered questions from the press in what will be remembered for a long time as the most bizarre, offensive, and divisive remarks ever given by a sitting President of the United States. Although the controversial points of this "speech" centered around President Trump attempting to construct a false equivalency between peaceful protesters and white supremacists, the title of the Q&A session is officially known as "Remarks by President Trump on Infrastructure." In this blog entry, we are posting some statements from our 2017 Democratic candidates in reaction to the President's remarks.
"I was saddened, disgusted, and downright terrified by the hate and ignorance on display in Charlottesville, VA this weekend. Everyone in this country has both a civic duty and a moral obligation to stand up and speak out in the face of unadulterated bigotry—in the face of evil people who assault the values of equality and tolerance that have buttressed this nation for over two-hundred years. The President of the United States has that duty and obligation above all others. I had the very brief privilege of interning for President Obama in the White House Counsel’s Office after I graduated from law school. President Obama was absolutely correct when he tweeted that “No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin or his background or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.” That sentiment stands in stark contrast to what we heard today from President Trump. Simply put, there are not two sides to an argument when one side is carrying swatsikas. Our elected leaders at all levels, from the President to the most local official, have a duty to speak out against those who preach hate and those who give them cover. My thoughts and prayers are with the family of Heather Heyer, the families of the two Virginia State Police officers who died, the other victims of the domestic terrorist attacks in Charlottesville, and anyone in this country who still suffers at the hands of such intolerance."
-- Jack Harrington, Democratic Candidate for Brookhaven Town Supervisor
"When you wonder if national politics ever affect local events, think of the innocent people fighting against white nationalists coming to their community and a President who doesn't condemn the ensuing violence. Today and every day I stand with anyone and everyone who fights against hatred."
-- Cindy Morris, Democratic Candidate for Brookhaven Town Clerk
"A young woman has died on American streets at the hands of a Nazi, and when pressed on the issue some of our leaders have decided to equivocate and to distract us with talk of statues and history. When confronted with this news - that a white supremacist rally has ended with a white supremacist murdering someone - the response should never be to say "there is blame on both sides" and that a group of white nationalists contained "very fine people." I urge everyone, wherever they may fall on the political spectrum, to look inside of themselves and realize that on this issue these people are wrong. A good leader should not further the divides in our nation by emboldening racists and bigots. I hold out hope for an America led boldly with of love, patience, introspection, and understanding. I believe it is the duty of all of our leaders to demonstrate such character, and I look forward to their statements condemning hate and violence."
-- Mike Goodman, Democratic Candidate for Brookhaven Town 2nd Council District
"When our elected representatives fail to uphold their oath to support and defend the Constitution and all it represents, then it becomes time for us to vigorously work to ensure that these individuals no longer hold elected office."
-- Lisa Di Santo, Democratic Candidate for Brookhaven Town 5th Council District
"At times like this when there is so much tension over the latest terrorist murder in Charlottesville, true leadership, at all levels, rises to the occasion. The ongoing rants of those supporting racism, anti-Semitism, and white supremacy are an affront to Americans. These acts and words are not just the rants of some fringe groups but represent the feelings of too many people. We need leadership that will step up and call out those who would look to divide our country and deny rights to American citizens. Rights guaranteed by our Constitution. Many Americans have died fighting for our freedoms and it is an affront to them to see the lack of backbone by many of the elected's. Those in office, at every level, who have not stood up show that they really aren't that offended by the actions of these groups and it is politically more comfortable for them to stand by and do nothing. Maybe that is what they do best."
-- Art Turkington, Democratic Candidate for Brookhaven Town 6th Council District