Trump condemns white supremacists, neo-Nazis amid criticism

President Trump condemned hate groups as 'repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans,' but some say it's too little, too late.
9:32 | 08/14/17

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Transcript for Trump condemns white supremacists, neo-Nazis amid criticism
Hi everyone ominous odds here with continuing coverage of the latest remarks from president trump. In response of course of the events over the weekend in Charlottesville Virginia the deadly event there. Mary Alice park my colleague done in Washington DC joins me live now and Mary Alice. For many people these were the words that we were waiting for president trump to say it to actually lift out the group's. That he was condemning after sort of milk toast statement over the weekend. I think it would that please stop political bleeding but let's be fair is not radical to come out and denounced. You ask what it is radical waiting it's locked. And that's what his Republican colleagues and that was why he was met with absolutely. Share a wave of opposition and even from its own party last Friday. In rails worthy of the things that's happened since his failure to condemn some of these groups by payments over the increasing political pressure. As you mention what he's seeing pressure from other sides to write the CEO of Merck. Who is African American actually came out and resigned in protest. To the president's lack of response from the federal advisory panel basically saying that. If we can't stand up against bigotry and hatred what do we stand for anymore do we know that that and the potential for more people like that to step away distanced themselves from the president. Played any role in pressuring mr. trump today. I think absolutely and also members of his own T use vice president. Vice president his own daughter at number of people very close to him making a point of using that. That strong much more started direct language breaking from the president index. At I think there's no doubt that had not made a statement like this it would have fervor and the questions and that. Headlines about it would have only continued again I think this was this is a statement needed to just stop the bleeding. Let's bring in our colleague Pierre Thomas ABC's Chief Justice correspondent. Carry her little bit of news there that the Department of Justice is open to civil rights investigation into the deadly attack in which one young woman. Was killed what exactly does that entail and what kind of message. Do you think the administration is trying to send here. Well what that means that the FBI is now full war on the case. Looking into this young man's background to try to determine motive. Does he have ties to white supremacist groups does he have ties to neo Nazis. Some of the early reporting has gone so far suggest. From a high school teacher that. He idolize you know Hitler. Believe in the Nazi. Propaganda believed in white supremacy. There classmates of his who are talking by the trip to Europe in which they went to Germany. Went to concentration camps allegedly where he allegedly said something about this is what a magic start. So that part of the investigation is going to be critical because they will look. And his background they will do a search phones. Computers they would talk to associates and try to get a system. Did he show up if in fact he is the culprit. The suspect the person did this heinous act did he do it at the behest of someone or was this a spur of the moment. Act of opportunity. The parent got to ask you because one of the consistent criticisms of this president that then. Time and again when opportunity comes to speak out against. Far right extremist groups represented by a white Nationalists like to premise that the kkk neo Nazis here in America. He doesn't speak out as forcefully as most people would expect him to right away at the same time and people I've interviewed who track hate in America they we've seen a rise. In membership and an interest in some of these groups. From the folks you talked to in law enforcement is that something that they're concerned about that they got sixteen real evidence. Both seven the Southern Poverty Law Center tracks hate groups in this country and they have data that shows that since 2000 52% increase. And the number of such hate groups roughly 600 or so. In 2000 now were up to well over 900. So that is of concern law enforcement is aware of these kinds of groups and again. You'll have to look up much history to find out what the kkk. Neo Nazis and white supremacists are about. And even though this in. Punches were thrown. On a number of size during that. Protests and counter protests on Saturday in. Charlottesville make no mistake the people. Who have fomented that kind of violence or who were no. Many of those people showed up in helmets sticks to beat people so it was apparent that they came for fight. I think that Pierre Thomas live in Washington thanks care. For those of you just joining us president trump has delivered updated remarks in response to the deadly attack in Charlottesville over the weekend. In case you missed it here is what the president had to say in regard to some of the groups that incited the violence in the first place let's take a lesson. We must love each other show affection for each other and unite together in condemnation of hatred. Bigotry. And violence. We must rediscover the bonds of love and loyalty. That bring us together as Americans. Racism is evil. And those who cause violence in its name mark criminals and thugs including the kkk. Neo Nazis white supremacists. And other hate groups that are repugnant to everything we hold a year as Americans. My colleague Mary Alice parks joins me live in Washington now on Mary Alice those were the words a lot of people. We're waiting to hear as he mentioned it's nothing radical the call out white supremacist than America and when he seventeen. But let's back it up just a little bit here I mean these were groups that showed up as Pierre had mentioned. With torches in hand. Anti semantic signs. Trump campaign signs in some cases chanting. Not seat slogans and then for three days. They'd heard nothing from the president that said that aid did anything wrong necessarily. Though the president has now come out and said the words everyone thought he would take three days ago do you think that this silence in those last three days then the message. Absolutely we know that hate groups have felt in bulletin in this country. In the last few years like we're talking about with Pierre there's a rise in hate crimes in this country or rise in hate groups. And it'll continue to feel humbled and less leaders and society tells them that it's not okay. The last three days work with the silence from the White House the silence from the commander in chief was absolutely deafening and spoke volumes. I think that we saw many of those radicals those extremists those white nationalist. Feel empowered by the lack of condemnation from this president you know I think it was interesting to things of the president did not say today. He did not specifically call the act an act of domestic terrorism. Though his own attorney general said that it felt like it met the definition of an act of domestic terrorism act in a lot of people watching that but it's C a very very. Direct act of violence so that was surprising to me he did not use that language and he also did not say. I don't want your support. You know it was berries was very interesting to watch those protesters as extremists there in Charlottesville they did not mince words about which politician they were backing. We side David duke a former kkk had saying that he was here he was there present to fulfill. Promise. This president gave feel like they are aligned with his pregnant we have seen other Republicans. In the past make a point of saying they don't want supports. White extremists and nationals like best we did not see that from the president. Mail us you mention other Republicans and we believe that part of the reason the president felt the need to come out clarify. His response as part about political pressure write his own party's leadership. Speaking out almost against their presidents saying this didn't go far enough. This is not what our country is all about this is not about partisan politics this was members of his own party. Do we think that that will have any kind of lasting a fact or will this continue to come up again and again is unfortunately we know. These sort of issues now dale. You know you look at the president's past statements about minorities in this country some of the comments he made during. Campaign rallies that got out of hand and it's when. Borderline violent. This as a issue that we'll continue to dot its presidency Atlanta. He take active steps to reverse course I think we've stopped very remarkable. Quick. Backlash from members of his own party. I'd use that not only standing up against these hate groups but standing up against their own Republican. President calling him out specifically for not going far enough your rightly supplement number of other Republican senators and and congressman across the country this was clearly a sea change for them I don't think that these issues are gonna go way. Any tax in. Aren't I think that Mary Alice parks and in DC thanks rails to talk. And thanks to all of you for watching as well remember you will go. anytime for continuing coverage of this story and many others for now I'm on an Abbas and off the back instant.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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