- Associated Press - Tuesday, August 15, 2017

MOUNT LAUREL, N.J. (AP) - A former ambassador to Germany and current Democratic nominee for governor said on Tuesday there’s cause for concern about President Donald Trump’s response to a deadly white supremacist and neo-Nazi rally.

Phil Murphy, speaking after an unrelated event, said Nazism didn’t appear in a “quantum moment” and “we should all be very concerned” about the country’s leadership.

“It was economic, societal chaos, and it grew over time, and people didn’t see it coming, and then when they finally figured it out they couldn’t catch the train,” Murphy said. “We should all be very concerned about that in our leadership right now.”

Murphy was ambassador to Germany from 2009 to 2013.

Republican Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, her party’s gubernatorial candidate, said she was glad Trump, also a Republican, “finally” reacted on Monday by calling out neo-Nazis and white supremacists who attended the weekend’s rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. She also criticized Murphy for focusing on national headlines.

“It sounds like Phil Murphy’s running for president,” she said. “I’m running for governor of the state of New Jersey, and I want to talk about the differences between Phil and myself.”

Their comments came before Trump said Tuesday that “there is blame on both sides” in the Virginia protest, which led to the death of a counter-protester who opposed the white supremacists.

Violence broke out Saturday in Charlottesville after a loosely connected mix of white nationalists, neo-Nazis and other far-right extremists assembled for the largest gathering of its kind in a decade. Heather Heyer was killed when a man plowed his car into a crowd of counter-protesters.

It’s not the first time Murphy has suggested the Trump White House compares to Nazi Germany.

Murphy came under criticism from Republicans when a video surfaced earlier this year showing him speaking in November about how the new administration paralleled Germany under Nazi rule. Murphy said he wouldn’t back away from those comments.

Republican Gov. Chris Christie, a Trump supporter, is term-limited and is set to leave office in January.

Christie, who is on vacation in Italy, issued a statement after the Virginia rally condemning the “racism and violence.”

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