MILWAUKEE -- At a ten-minute news conference at City Hall Wednesday afternoon, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett harshly condemned President Donald Trump's response to the fatal violence in Charlottesville, and called on all elected officials to do the same.
"I feel so strongly about the approach that he has taken to the events over the last few days that I cannot remain silent," Mayor Barrett said.
"Mr. President, it's not a white constitution. We are not the white United States. We are one nation, under God, with liberty and justice for all."
President Trump's initial lack of a response to the violence and failure to specifically condemn white supremacists until two days after the death of Heather Heyer has drawn criticism from both sides of the political aisle. The president then further complicated the issue by delivering off-the-cuff comments Tuesday afternoon that reverted to his assertion that "both sides" shared blame for the violence.
Barrett argued that reaction has done real harm to Americans.
"Unfortunately, with his words, the president of the United States has intentionally and purposefully degraded the integrity, hope, and aspirations of our residents, and hundreds of millions of people across our country," the mayor said.
"This is not even a close call," Barrett continued. "This is the president of the United States, who is purposefully trying to draw a moral equivalency between white supremacists and people who object to white supremacy. There is no moral equivalency here - it just doesn't exist."
Responding to a reporter, the mayor said he was not calling for Trump to step down, but reiterated his call for every elected official to condemn the president's remarks.