The violent disruptions occurring in Charlottesville, Va., have “no place in a civil society,” no matter which side the violent behaviors come from, Rep. Marsha Blackburn said Saturday.
“I know law enforcement officials and first responders are doing their best to contain this and disperse people,” the Tennessee Republican told CNN. “My hopes and thoughts and prayers will be with the local officials trying to contain this.”
Riot gear-clad police cleared protesters from Emancipation Park Saturday after declaring a “Unite the Right” rally was “unlawful” when clashes broke out between alt-right demonstrators and supporters of Black Lives Matter.
The violence prompted Virginia Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe to declare a state of emergency in Charlottesville, where white nationalists and neo-Nazis joined alt-right demonstrators to protest plans to remove a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.
Blackburn said she had not talked with President Donald Trump or his team, but was sure he was monitoring the situation. About an hour after her interview, Trump tweeted his opposition to the violence:
We ALL must be united & condemn all that hate stands for. There is no place for this kind of violence in America. Lets come together as one!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 12, 2017
His tweet also came after former KKK Imperial Wizard David Duke referred to Trump in comments made to media interviewers in Charlottesville.
“This represents a turning point,” Duke said. “We are determined to take our country back. We will fulfill the promises of Donald Trump. That’s what we believed in, that’s why we voted for Donald Trump because he said he will take our country back and that’s what we have to do.”
Blackburn told CNN that she also knows Trump is monitoring North Korea and the concerns surrounding the escalating situation there.
She also said that she does not believe inflammatory rhetoric, from either the right or the left, has a place because it “does not serve our nation well.”
“We need to make certain that this is the kind of thing that we don’t tolerate or abide by, and I think most people, most Americans who are watching what is taking place in Charlottesville today, are probably appalled by what is taking place there today, just as they are concerned about what is taking place in North Korea,” said Blackburn.
Blackburn said what she would like most is to see a return to civil discourse.
“I was at a farmer’s market and got yelled at twice,” the congresswoman said. “The people that were standing around me, even the guy that was selling me corn turned to the gentleman and said, ‘You know, this just has no place.’ I think everyone is just a little unsettled when they hear that type of rhetoric.”
That doesn’t mean the nation hasn’t been served well by “robust political debate,” said Blackburn.
“By making the statement that we agree to disagree, that we will find a resolution for the good of the country, this goes back through our nation’s history,” she said. “It is how this nation has stood strong and resolute for the cause of freedom.”