President Donald Trump has condemned hate "on many sides" after violence erupted at a right wing rally on Saturday (12 August) in Charlottesville, Virginia.
One person died and 19 were injured during clashes between anti-fascist protestors and white supremacists at the Unite the Right rally. A speeding car ploughed into a crowd of Black Lives Matter activists, causing bloodshed and carnage.
President Donald Trump, who is on holiday in New Jersey held a brief a press conference at his private golf club to address the tensions in Charlottesville.
"We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides, on many sides," he said. "It has been going on for a long time in our country -- not Donald Trump, not Barack Obama. It has been going on for a long, long time. It has no place in America."
The President was widely criticised for his failure to label the killing of a protester as a terrorist attack and for making no mention of white nationalists and the alt-right movement in his remarks.
Refusing to take questions from the assembled reporters Trump added that he was dismayed by the violence. "We have so many incredible things happening in our country, so when I watch Charlottesville, to me it is very, very sad."
Trump closed his remarks on Charlottesville urging people to unite. "No matter our color, creed, religion or political party, we are all Americans first."
"We love our country, we love our God, we love our flag, we are proud of our country, we are proud of who we are," he said. "So, we want to get this situation straightened out in Charlottesville and we want to study it, and we want to see what we are doing wrong as a country where things like this can happen."
After his speech, Trump called for "a swift restoration of law and order."
"What is vital now is a swift restoration of law and order and the protection of innocent lives.. No citizen should ever fear for their safety and security in our society. #Charlottesville," he tweeted.
Vice President Mike Pence also condemned the protests. "I stand with @POTUS against hate & violence," he tweeted. "U.S is greatest when we join together & oppose those seeking to divide us. #Charlottesville."
First Lady Melania Trump also tweeted her dismay at the violence calling for peaceful protest. "Our country encourages freedom of speech, but let's communicate w/o hate in our hearts. No good comes from violence."
The President's refusal to acknowledge the incident as an act of domestic terrorism and to call out the white supremacists for their part in the affray, prompted a deluge of angry tweets from the public, with many describing his tempered response as an 'outrage', while others blamed Trump and his supporters for inflaming racism in the US.
"You created this. You are responsible for this. You are the product and the producer of Hate and bigotry. SHAME ON YOU!" said one commentator addressing POTUS.
"If you voted for Donald Trump Charlottesville is on you," said another.
Another laid the blame squarely at Trump's door tweeting: "Sad that we live in a country where those who are supposed to lead us are the same ones who gave hatred their voice."
In contrast Virginia Governor of Terry McAuliffe, who earlier declared a state of emergency, was applauded for his strong condemnation of the 'Nazis' and 'white supremacists' who instigated the violence in Charlottesville.
"Go home. You are not wanted," he said addressing the right wing group. "You came here today to hurt people. And you did hurt people. My message is clear: we are stronger than you," he said.
"I have a message to all the white supremacists and the Nazis who came into Charlottesville today: My message is go home. You are not wanted in this commonwealth. Shame on you ... You are anything but a patriot.
"I remind you we are a nation of immigrants. Our diversity is what makes us special and we will not let anyone destroy that," he continued.
"My message is clear. We are stronger than you. There is no place for you here. There is no place for you in America.
"So please go home. Take your hatred and take your bigotry and go. "