Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley tweeted out Wednesday morning that the Army does not tolerate extremism, following the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va., over the weekend.
“The Army doesn’t tolerate racism, extremism, or hatred in our ranks,” Milley said. “It’s against our Values and everything we’ve stood for since 1775.”
Milley’s comments come amid a backdrop of other military leaders denouncing the extremist nature of the Charlottesville rally, which quickly devolved into violence, allowing Virginia Gov. Terry McAulife to declare a state of emergency and break up the assembly. The American Civil Liberties Union is maintaining that violence broke out because law enforcement authorities seemingly stood around and did nothing in the hopes that ensuing violence would provide the pretext “to declare an emergency, declare an ‘unlawful assembly’ and clear the area.”
Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Robert Neller stated Tuesday that there is “No place for racial hatred or extremism in USMC. Our core values of Honor, Courage, and Commitment frame the way Marines live and act.”
The Navy’s top officer Adm. John Richardson almost immediately condemned the rally, issuing a statement Saturday that “The shameful events in Charlottesville are unacceptable and must not be tolerated.”
In contrast to the denouncements from military leaders, President Donald Trump said at a press briefing Tuesday that both sides had some “very fine people on both sides.” Trump also blasted the violence coming from groups he referred to as the “alt-left” and made the point that not everyone at the rally protesting the removal of the Robert E. Lee statue is a neo-Nazi or white supremacist.
“I’ve condemned neo-Nazis,” Trump said. “I’ve condemned many different groups. But not all of those people were neo-Nazis, believe me. Not all of those people were white supremacists by any stretch. Those people were also there because they wanted to protest the taking down of a statue, Robert E. Lee.”
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