While some Republicans have failed to criticize President Donald Trump by name for his remarks on the deadly Charlottesville, Virginia, attack, one Republican congressman is doubling down on his criticism of Trump’s claim that there were “very fine people on both sides.”
After Trump made the remarks on Tuesday, Republican Rep. Paul Mitchell, of Michigan, tweeted, “You can’t be a ‘very fine person’ and be a white supremacist @POTUS”
He echoed those comments in an interview with Kate Bolduan on CNN’s “Outfront,” saying, “I don’t believe you can be a fine person and a white supremacist. They’re mutually exclusive, can’t use them in the same line.”
Mitchell said he didn’t hesitate to respond to Trump because he wanted to send a message “to remind the President that we need to be careful how we express things” and that “the KKK, neo-Nazis, are fundamentally opposed to what our Constitution is about, which is equality of all men, so it’s pretty simple to call them out.”
“When you see people with swastikas, yelling Nazi slogans, fine people — as I put it to people — get out of Dodge. They leave, they get out of the area,” he added. “You don’t stick around to see what happens. So unfortunately, I don’t buy the argument that somehow fine people got caught up in this.”
The freshman congressman also issued a plea for peace moving forward.
“I felt I had to come on and join you to talk about — no, this is wrong. But we have to recognize violence by any group or any set of individuals to put forth their political opinion is destructive in our country, it’s destructive to our nation, and we need to stop,” Mitchell said.
“We need to focus on policies. People can disagree without throwing punches, using clubs, and when you get to that, it’s destructive. We need to call it for what it is. I serve in Congress with people across the aisle. I don’t agree with them and some of them are my good friends. Even when we have heated debates, I certainly wouldn’t punch them. Let’s be adults here and make a difference. That’s why I went to Congress.”