A Guide to the Charlottesville Aftermath
White nationalists and counterprotesters blamed one another and the police for the violence that erupted in Charlottesville, Va., on Saturday. Amateur video verified by The New York Times paints a picture of how the events led to one death and multiple injuries.CreditCredit…Edu Bayer for The New York Times
- Aug. 13, 2017
Since a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va., on Saturday, news developments have continued at a torrid pace.
If you are just catching up on the aftermath of the weekend’s events, or are overwhelmed by the volume of news, here is an overview of The New York Times’s coverage.
A tepid White House response
On Monday, Mr. Trump declared, “Racism is evil,” adding that “those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs, including the K.K.K., neo-Nazis, white supremacists and other hate groups that are repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans.”
But one day later, he doubled down on his initial response, declaring furiously at a news conference on Tuesday: “You had a group on one side that was bad. You had a group on the other side that was also very violent. Nobody wants to say that. I’ll say it right now.”
Mr. Trump’s comments on Monday came after he mocked the head of Merck pharmaceuticals, who is black, for quitting the American Manufacturing Council in protest of Mr. Trump’s response to the violence. Chief executives from Intel and Under Armour also resigned from the board; read their full statements here. A fourth board member, the president of the Alliance for American Manufacturing, stepped down on Tuesday.Video00:001:051:05Trump Speaks Amid Turmoil in CharlottesvillePresident Trump speaking Saturday from his golf club in Bedminster, N.J., about the violence in Charlottesville, Va., where a state of emergency was called after white nationalists clashed with counterprotesters.CreditCredit…Al Drago for The New York Times
Walmart’s chief executive, Doug McMillon, also criticized Mr. Trump in a letter to employees on Monday. Many more business leaders are outraged in private but fear the consequences of speaking out, Dealbook’s Andrew Ross Sorkin wrote.
The nation looks for answers
On Monday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions called the fatal attack “domestic terrorism” and said, “You can be sure we will charge and advance the investigation toward the most serious charges that can be brought.”
In Charlottesville and beyond, people were grappling with the blatant display of attitudes that many believed had been buried, but the extremists who rallied were newly energized and planning their next moves. Police departments across the country were bracing for what they fear could be similar events.
In the aftermath, amateur sleuths tried to identify and shame white nationalist participants. But in at least one case, they called out the wrong person.
White nationalists also faced backlash from businesses. The web hosting service GoDaddy cut ties with The Daily Stormer, a neo-Nazi website, after the site published an article mocking victims of the violence.
What happened on Saturday
White nationalists gathered on Saturday for a “Unite the Right” march in Charlottesville. Around 1:45 p.m., a car plowed into a group of counterprotesters and another car.
One person was killed: Heather D. Heyer, 32, a paralegal from Charlottesville who “was a passionate advocate for the disenfranchised and was often moved to tears by the world’s injustices.” Read The Times’s profile of Ms. Heyer, and an article about the counterprotesters.
Two state troopers also died on Saturday. Lt. H. Jay Cullen and Trooper Berke M. M. Bates were in a helicopter monitoring the demonstrations, when the helicopter fell and burst into flames.
In total, at least 34 people were wounded in the clashes.
The driver of the car was James Alex Fields Jr., 20, of Maumee, Ohio, a city near Toledo, officials said. He faces an array of charges, including a count of second-degree murder. On Monday, a judge denied Mr. Fields bail and said he would appoint a lawyer for him. Here is what we know about Mr. Fields; a Times reporter responded to reader questions about why The Times would profile him.
The background to the violence
Nominally, the rally on Saturday was organized in opposition to a plan by local officials to remove a statue of Robert E. Lee, the Confederacy’s top general, from Emancipation Park in Charlottesville. That plan prompted a similar protest in May, led by the white nationalist Richard B. Spencer, as well as a Ku Klux Klan rally in July. The removal of Confederate monuments has also stirred up anger in cities like New Orleans, and officials in several states are now making similar efforts. On Monday evening, protesters in Durham, N.C., toppled a statue of a Confederate soldier.
However, the forces behind the rally run much deeper than the removal of statues. Right-wing extremism, including white nationalism and white supremacy, is on the rise, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. And a string of killings in recent months raised the specter of far-right violence well before last weekend.