Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen pushed President Donald Trump’s “both sides” claim about the violence during a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017.
Counter-protester Heather Heyer was struck and killed by a man who was allegedly “infatuated” with Nazis, but Trump claimed there were “very fine people on both sides.”
At the Aspen Security Forum in Colorado, Peter Alexander of NBC News asked Nielsen about Trump placing blame on “both sides” at Charlottesville (instead of the white nationalists).
Nielsen went on to parrot Trump, notes Vice News:
It’s not that one side was right and one side was wrong. Anybody that is advocating violence, we need to work to mitigate.
Nielsen said the Department of Homeland Security is using “partnership,” “counter-messaging” and “off-ramping” to stop violence.
Meanwhile, the Justice Department is prosecuting white supremacists, reports Vice News.
[T]he Justice Department filed 29 federal hate crime charges against James Alex Fields, the young neo-Nazi accused of ramming his car into a crowd of counterprotesters, leaving one dead and injuring dozens.
Fields is also facing state murder charges for the death of Heather Heyer, a protester. Other participants in the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville may also be looking at jail time for their actions. Two white supremacists were convicted earlier this year on charges linked to the violent beating of DeAndre Harris, a black man, and two more have charges pending.