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What Texas Officials Are Saying About White Nationalist Protests In Charlottesville

Justin Ide
A crowd of white nationalists are met by a group of counter-protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia, U.S., August 12, 2017.

After a rally by white nationalists turned violent in Charlottesville, Virginia on Saturday, President Trump responded by saying: "We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides, on many sides."

Trump did not mention white nationalists in his statement — and he reportedly ignored questions from the press about a car plowing into multiple counter-protesters. The car left at least one dead. Two others died in a helicopter crash, which was linked to the rally according to the Associated Press.

Here's how Texas officials are responding to the news from Virginia:

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, called for the Department of Justice to investigate the incident as an "act of domestic terrorism." 

“These bigots want to tear our country apart, but they will fail,” Cruz said in a statement. “America is far better than this.”

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said on Twitter he was praying for Charlottesville. 

"We must stand against all who try to divide us with hatred and bigotry," Patrick said.

House Speaker Joe Straus called the rallies "un-American."

"We grieve for the Charlottesville victims [and] fiercely reject the views [and] actions of white supremacist groups," Straus said.

On Twitter, U.S. Rep. Beto O'Rourke, D-El Paso, tweeted: "We are so much better than the small-minded racism, intolerance & hatred that the citizens of #Charlottesville are standing up to."

U.S. Rep. Pete Sessions, R-Dallas, condemned the actions on Twitter: "The racist white supremacist actions in Charlottesville are completely horrendous," he said.

Other lawmakers requested prayer.

"Please join me in sending prayers to Charlottesville," U.S. Rep. John Ratcliffe, R-Heath, said. "This hateful violence is deeply saddening and must be condemned in the strongest terms."

U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-San Antonio said the incident "should be treated for what it is, terrorism."

U.S. Rep. Will Hurd, R-Helotes, called for a moment of silence for Charlottesville during a town hall Saturday afternoon in Helotes. "There's no role for racism or bigotry in the United States of America," he said.

U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Austin, called the violence "alarming" and "disturbing." "Our country cannot succumb to this hatred," Doggett said.

U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Houston, criticized the President's response on Twitter and then offered her sympathy to "those injured during this terrible demonstration and to the family of the deceased."

U.S. Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Dallas, said: "I’ve never been more concerned [about] the tenor of political debate in America [and] how we treat each other." Hensarling called for peace.

U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Austin, condemned the violence. "It does not define us as Americans," McCaul said.

Joining the long list of Texas lawmakers condemning the violence Saturday afternoon were U.S. Rep. John Culberson, R-Houston, U.S. Rep. Roger Williams, R-Austin, U.S. Rep. Pete Olson, R-Sugar Land, and U.S. Rep. Michael Burgess, R-Lewisville. 

Patrick Svitek contributed to this report, which was provided by the Texas Tribune.

Bobby Blanchard runs the Tribune’s social media efforts. A graduate of UT-Austin, Bobby spent his first year out of college at The Dallas Morning News as a reporting fellow, covering Texas politics and breaking news. He got his start in journalism in the poorly lit basement of The Daily Texan, followed by internships at the Houston Chronicle, KUT News and yes, the Tribune. Born and raised in the Houston area, Bobby is a native Texan. He relies on a steady supply of Tex-Mex and Red Bull to survive.