(KMSP) - President Trump reneged remarks he made condemning hate groups Tuesday, which left even Chief of Staff General John Kelly apparently cringing.
"...I think there's blame on both sides. If you look at both sides, I think there's blame on both sides and I don't have any doubt about it and you don't have any doubt about it either," the President said, referring to the violent, deadly weekend protests in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Our political climate is now described by some critics as “lamentable but predictable," given the President’s stance long before he ran for office.
Meanwhile, Melanie Adams, the Minnesota Historical Society’s head of guest experiences and educational services rolls up her sleeves following the east coast rally and protest she says is reminiscent of the 1920s.
“I never thought I’d actually see something that looks like a Klan rally,” Adams said, adding that the brazen show of white supremacy is relevant to every Minnesotan.
“We could go back into our archive and find a picture of a Klan rally here in Minnesota where people think, 'well we're in the North, that doesn't happen in the north.' Well, yes it does,” Adams said.
Following the likes of Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and Sen. Jeff Flake, local Republican leaders made their stance clear following the reprehensible violence.
“We just have to start moving forward and focus on how can we build bridges and untie people and individually speak out and speak out against white supremacists and terrible groups like the KKK and people that have affiliations with those groups that want to cause harm to different peoples in our country,” said Minnesota GOP Chair Jennifer Carnahan.
Members of the Minnesota DFL also share voices of dissent.
“I felt for my constituents, the people who live here, the people I talk to each and every day who are very, very concerned angry, scared, about where this country is going and frankly for the President to give voice to the clan, neo Nazis, fascists and all of those really bad people. That's not what this country's about, that's not what this state is about...[it] certainly isn't what this community is about,” said Assistant Democratic Leader, Sen. Jeff Hayden (MN-DFL).
All this came after President Trump first failed to directly denounce white supremacy Saturday. Following the weekend fallout, the President condemned the racially charged hatred, saying “Racism is evil and those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs, including the KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists and other hate groups that are repugnant to all that we hold dear as Americans."
But Tuesday, he said, "I think there's blame on both sides. If you look at both sides, I think there's blame on both sides and I don't have any doubt about it and you don't have any doubt about it either."
The ambiguous remarks were made before he began drawing controversial parallels between Robert E. Lee, a confederate general, and some of the country’s founding fathers, George Washington and Thomas Jefferson.
“We’re not erasing history, we’re telling a more complete history because those monuments tell one side of a particular struggle or story no the entire story,” Adams said of the removal of confederate statues across the country.
Adams also addressed the recent attention brought toward statues in Baltimore, Charlottesville and other U.S. cities.
“They weren’t placed in 1865, 1866 immediately following the [Civil] War. They were placed more between a more roughly 1910 - 1917 when you’re looking at kind of this resurgence of 'the south will rise again' during Jim Crow, and so you have to really question why were those monuments put in place,” Adams said.
As communities nationwide continue to reexamine their values and how they’re represented in public spaces, Adams welcomes healthy conversations about our country’s complete historical picture.
“It's more of a respectful dialogue and a respectful conversation that we need to have - and really emphasize that - than creating a larger divide,” she said.