- The Washington Times - Monday, August 14, 2017

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said Monday that the race-based clashes in Virginia this weekend should lead to White House chief strategist Steve Bannon’s firing, blaming the former media executive for what she said was President Trump’s weak initial response.

Mr. Trump delivered a forceful denunciation of racists on Monday, but his critics continued to chide him for his Saturday response to the clashes, which left one woman dead after a car plowed into a crowd of counter-protesters. Authorities have charged a man they say was motivated by white supremacist beliefs.

In his initial response Mr. Trump said “many sides” needed to cool down — but those on both sides of the political spectrum said the president should have directly called out neo-Nazis and other white supremacists who were marching in Charlottesville to defend a statue commemorating the confederacy.

“The president’s statement on Saturday was a direct reflection of the fact that his chief strategist, Steve Bannon, is an alt-right white supremacist sympathizer and a shameless enforcer of those un-American beliefs,” Mrs. Pelosi said.

In a statement after Mr. Trump on Monday did blast racists, Mrs. Pelosi said it was “long overdue — and said the president needed to do more than criticize.

“If the President is sincere about rejecting white supremacists, he should remove all doubt by firing Steve Bannon and the other alt-right white supremacist sympathizers in the White House,” she said.

“It shouldn’t take the President of the United States two days to summon the basic decency to condemn murder and violence by Nazis and white supremacists.”

Sen. John McCain, meanwhile, also blamed white supremacists for another West Wing intrigue, saying the “alt-right” is behind a push to oust National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, a lieutenant general in the Army.

News reports have speculated on a fierce internal battle between Mr. Bannon and Gen. McMaster.

Mr. McCain called pressure to oust the national security adviser “disgraceful,” and said Mr. Trump should put an end to it.

“I hope the president will once again stand up for his national security adviser and denounce these repugnant attacks, which arise from the same purveyors of hatred and ignorance who precipitated the recent violence in Charlottesville,” Mr. McCain said.

Mr. Trump last week called Gen. McMaster “my friend” and said he respected him.

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