President Donald Trump has condemned "in the strongest possible terms" what he's calling an "egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides" after clashes at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va.
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In his statement on Saturday, Trump said, “We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides.” He then added for emphasis: “On many sides.”

Numerous Republicans and Democrats have criticized the usually blunt-speaking president for reacting to the violence and racism in Charlottesville in such vague terms, for placing equal blame on the counterprotesters and for not specifically condemning the white supremacists involved.

Sens. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and Cory Gardner, R-Colo., urged the president to use the words “white supremacists” and to label what happened Saturday as a terrorist attack. House Speaker Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., declared that “white supremacy is a scourge” that “must be confronted and defeated.” Sen. Orrin G. Hatch, R-Utah, tweeted, “We should call evil by its name. My brother didn’t give his life fighting Hitler for Nazi ideas to go unchallenged here at home.”

Charlottesville Democratic Mayor Michael Signer has directly blamed Trump for the explosion of hate in his city this weekend, and he continued to do so Sunday in an interview with CNN. He accused Trump of intentionally courting white supremacists, nationalists and anti-Semitic groups on the campaign trail, and he criticized the president for not condemning these groups.

“This is not hard. There’s two words that need to be said over and over again: domestic terrorism and white supremacy,” Signer said. “That is exactly what we saw on display this weekend, and we just aren’t seeing leadership from the White House.”

Gardner also appeared on “State of the Union” on Sunday and urged the president to speak out directly on the issue today and “call this white supremacism, white nationalism evil.” He said the president should do so with the same kind of conviction that he has had in “naming terrorism around the globe as evil.” Gardner declined to theorize on why Trump is so hesitant to speak up in specific terms.

“This is not a time for vagaries, this isn’t a time for innuendo or to allow room to be read between the lines, this is a time to lay blame,” Gardner said.

The senator added that Trump should not fear any political blowback for doing so.

“They’re not a part of anybody’s base, they’re not a part of this country,” he said. “Call it for what it is. It’s hatred, it’s bigotry. We don’t want them in our base, they shouldn’t be in a base, we shouldn’t call them part of a base.”

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said on “Fox News Sunday” that Trump needs to “correct the record here.”

“These groups seem to believe they have a friend in Donald Trump in the White House, and I would urge the president to dissuade that,” Graham said.

Members of the president’s own administration and some of his close allies also are breaking with his messaging, including Ivanka Trump. Anthony Scaramucci, the president’s former communications director, said on ABC’s “This Week” that he would not have recommended that the president say what he did Saturday.

“I think he needed to be much harsher as it related to the white supremacists and the nature of that,” said Scaramucci, whose White House stint lasted only 10 days.

He later added that it’s difficult for White House aides to change the president and his way of thinking, but that those around him need to give “direct advice, to be blunt with him.”

“He likes doing the opposite of what the media thinks he’s gonna do,” Scaramucci said. “I think he’s also of the impression that there’s hatred on all sides, but I disagree with it.”

Scaramucci said Trump “has to move away from that sort of Bannon-bart nonsense” and “move more to the mainstream” way of thinking that is embraced by most moderate Republicans and independents.

Demirjian reported from Washington. The Washington Post’s John Wagner and Janell Ross in Washington contributed to this report.