Former Republican nominee Mitt Romney issued a blistering critique of President Trump’s comments on the violence in Charlottesville Friday, saying his words “caused racists to rejoice, minorities to weep, and the vast heart of America to mourn.”
While Romney earlier called on Trump to apologize, in the lengthy statement he released on Facebook Friday, he warned of dire consequences to the nation if the president fails to address his comments.
"His apologists strain to explain that he didn't mean what we heard. But what we heard is now the reality, and unless it is addressed by the president as such, with unprecedented candor and strength, there may commence an unraveling of our national fabric,” Romney wrote.
"The potential consequences are severe in the extreme. Accordingly, the president must take remedial action in the extreme. He should address the American people, acknowledge that he was wrong, apologize.
Republicans and Democrats alike have taken issue with Trump saying there were “very fine people” on both sides of the white supremacist rally this past weekend.
“You have some very bad people in that group, but you also had people that were very fine people on both sides,” Trump said. “You had people in that group … that were there to protest the taking down of, to them, a very, very important statue and the renaming of a park from Robert E. Lee to another name.”
Not everyone publicly denounced the president over these remarks, however. White nationalist leader Richard Spencer, as well as former KKK leader David Duke, praised his remarks, with the former saying he was “proud of him for speaking the truth.”
Romney said Trump needs to formally disavow their support.
"Once and for all, he must definitively repudiate the support of David Duke and his ilk and call for every American to banish racists and haters from any and every association," the former Massachusetts governor said.
"In homes across the nation, children are asking their parents what this means. Jews, blacks, Hispanics, Muslims are as much a part of America as whites and Protestants. But today they wonder. Where might this lead? To bitterness and tears, or perhaps to anger and violence?"
Romney also said Trump’s comments will hurt America’s standing abroad.
"Our allies around the world are stunned and our enemies celebrate; America's ability to help secure a peaceful and prosperous world is diminished," he continued. "And who would want to come to the aid of a country they perceive as racist if ever the need were to arise, as it did after 9/11?"
Romney called this a “defining moment for President Trump” and urged him one last time to right his wrong.
"But much more than that, it is a moment that will define America in the hearts of our children. They are watching, our soldiers are watching, the world is watching. Mr. President, act now for the good of the country."