Political News

US military leaders condemn racism after Charlottesville violence

Posted August 16, 2017 10:22 a.m. EDT

In a rare move, top commanders in the US military are speaking out in the wake of the deadly violence that erupted at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, over the weekend.

Despite the criticism swirling around President Donald Trump's recent remarks -- in which he appeared to draw a moral equivalency between neo-Nazis and counter-protesters by blaming "both sides" for violence -- four US Joint Chiefs are issuing public condemnations of neo-Nazis, the Klu Klux Klan and white supremacist groups.

The statements are not directly addressing Trump's comments but are instead presented as a message to the general public, their troops and potential recruits. The statements are notable as US military leaders traditionally uphold an ironclad commitment to stay out of politics.

Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson was the first member of the military brass to weigh in on the issue, tweeting as news of the violence unfolded on Saturday.

"Events in Charlottesville unacceptable and musn't be tolerated @USNavy for ever stands against intolerance & hatred," the post said.

On Tuesday, Commandant of the US Marine Corps Gen. Robert B. Neller spoke out, tweeting that there was "No place for racial hatred or extremism in @USMC. Our core values of Honor, Courage, and Commitment frame the way Marines live and act."

On Wednesday, Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. Mark Milley posted: "The Army doesn't tolerate racism, extremism, or hatred in our ranks. It's against our Values and everything we've stood for since 1775."

Milley's tweet was shortly followed by a post from Air Force Gen. Dave Goldfein: "I stand with my fellow service chiefs in saying we're always stronger together-it's who we are as #Airmen."