WASHINGTON — As political leaders from both sides of the aisle speak out against the weekend violence that happened in Charlottesville, Virginia, between white nationalists and counter-protesters, one local Republican claims only half the story is being told.
“It’s time to end the hypocrisy,” said Corey Stewart, chairman of the Prince William Board of Supervisors.
Stewart, who will challenge Democratic U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine for his seat next year, said there is plenty of blame to go around.
“People condemned all those far-right agitators, but no one seemed to condemn the left wing,” he said. “Clearly, half of that violence was committed by left-wingers.”
A planned rally by white nationalists turned deadly Saturday when authorities said a 20-year-old man drove a car into a crowd of counter-protesters, killing one woman and hurting 19 others.
James Alex Fields Jr. was arrested and charged with second-degree murder.
A high school teacher said Fields was fascinated with Nazism, idolized Adolf Hitler and had been singled out by school officials in the ninth grade for his “deeply held, radical” convictions on race.
Following the chaotic incident, Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a Democrat, posted a message on Twitter, saying “elected officials in America must denounce white supremacy, Nazism & any rhetoric that empowers those who seek to divide us.”
Virginia Republican Ed Gillespie, who is running for governor against Democrat Ralph Northam in the upcoming election, also spoke out on Twitter.
“We’ve seen evil in white supremacist torches and howling neo-Nazism,” Gillespie said.
But Stewart had a different, more neutral message.
“Let’s condemn both sides for their violence, including the violence that was committed by these far-left nutcases who showed up,” said Stewart.
Stewart made preserving Virginia’s Confederate history a top campaign issue when running for governor earlier this year. He came close to winning the Republican nomination, narrowly losing to Gillespie in the primary election.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.