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Charlottesville Mayor Michael Signer sees "direct line" from Trump's campaign choices to violence

Signer on Trump
Charlottesville mayor says President Trump "should look in the mirror" 04:25

The mayor of Charlottesville suggested Sunday that President Trump has created an environment in which white supremacists feel welcome to publicly promote their views.

In an interview on CBS's "Face the Nation," Mayor Michael Signer was asked to comment on the president's response to the violent clashes and apparent attack in his town on Saturday.

"You know, I don't want to make this too much about Donald Trump. We have a lot of grieving and a lot of work to do as a city and as a country, but he should look in the mirror," Signer said.

Trump's response to Charlottesville violence draws fire 06:09

"He made a choice in his presidential campaign and the folks around with him to go right to the gutter, to play on our worst prejudices, and I think you're seeing a direct line from what happened here this weekend to those choices," he added.

Signer said the extremist groups have been "invited into the daylight," and their rhetoric has been possible because, he said, "they're getting okays for that because they were invited into basically a presidential campaign. That has to stop and it can stop now."

The mayor criticized Mr. Trump for his statement on Saturday, in which he says the president should have called out the white nationalist, neo-Nazi groups by name.

Officials face questions about what was done to prevent Charlottesville violence 01:48

"I didn't hear the words 'white supremacy,' and I think it's important to call it for what it is," he said.

A White House spokesman asserted in a statement released Sunday morning that Mr. Trump, "said very strongly in his statement yesterday that he condemns all forms of violence, bigotry and hatred, and of course that includes white supremacists, KKK, neo-nazi, and all extremists groups. He called for national unity and bringing all Americans together."

Host John Dickerson also asked Mayor Signer to respond to the Washington Post's characterization of Charlottesville law enforcement agencies' response to the clashes as "anemic."

"I think that's totally mistaken," Signer said, adding that they prepared for the events and set conditions for people to peaceably express themselves. He said the city had a "strong security plan in place."

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