Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen on Thursday backed President Trump’s defense of violent white supremacists who attacked counterprotesters in Charlottesville, Virginia, last August, saying “both sides” were to blame for attacks that left one counterprotester dead and dozens more injured. Nielsen made the remark at a forum organized by the Aspen Institute.
Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen: “I think what’s important about that conversation is, it’s not that one side is right, one side is wrong. Anybody that is advocating violence, we need to work to mitigate.”
Last August 11, hundreds of torch-bearing white supremacists held a march on the campus of the University of Virginia, chanting “blood and soil” and “Jews will not replace us.” The next day, members of the group attacked counterprotesters, firing at least one shot from a pistol and brutally beating 20-year-old Deandre Harris in a parking garage, before a neo-Nazi named James Alex Fields drove his car into a crowd of anti-racist demonstrators, killing a local paralegal named Heather Heyer and injuring 19 others.