Trump criticized for delayed response to Charlottesville protests

After waiting hours, the president seemed to blame white nationalists and counter-protesters equally for the violence.
3:26 | 08/12/17

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Transcript for Trump criticized for delayed response to Charlottesville protests
President trump tonight caught in the fallout, criticized for waiting hours before making his first comments about that violence in charlottesville. First lady Melania trump weighed in for the president. It's what he didn't say that has critics and supporters so upset. ABC's David Wright is traveling with the president in Bridgewater, New Jersey. We're closely following the terrible events unfolding in charlottesville, Virginia. Reporter: Today, the president finally did say the hate and division in charlottesville has no place in America. We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides, on many sides. Reporter: But the president seemed to blame both the white nationalists and the counterprotesters, equally. Many of the white nationalists who organized today's rally near a statue of confederate general Robert E. Lee voted for trump. Among them, former Klan leader David duke. As these horrific scenes of hatred and violence played out, the first whitejhouse response came not from the president but from the first lady. "Our country encourages freedom of speech, but let's communicate without hate in our hearts. No good comes from violence. #Charlottesville." President trump waited another 40 minutes to weigh in himself. Tweeting, "We all must be united and condemn all that hate stands for. There is no place for this kind of violence in America. Lets come together as one!" No matter our color, creed, religion or political party, we are all Americans first. Reporter: The president's response took fire from all sides. The mayor of charlottesville tweeted, "Thanks, at long last, for condemning hate in speech and action. Our work here is just beginning. Yours is too." Republican senator Cory Gardner tweeted, "Mr. President, we must call evil by its name. These were white supremacists and that was domestic terrorism." David duke not happy either. He tweeted at trump, "I would recommend you take a good look in the mirror and remember it was white Americans who put you in the presidency, not radical leftists." Today, reporters sought to press the president further. Mr. President, number of the white nationalists -- Mr. President -- have you denounced them strongly enough? Reporter: He ignored them. President walking away from those questions. David Wright joins us now. That statement from the president is drawing a lot of heat. The white house is now trying to clarify what he meant when he condemned violence, quote, on many sides? That phrase was a source of concern to people. Made the statement a little bit ambiguous. Moral ekwif lens between the white nationalists and the counterprotesters. Tonight, the white house said that the president was condemning hatred, bigotry and violence from all sources and in all forms. Cecilia. Okay, David Wright, thank you.

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

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