Members of his party are starting to carefully take on the president, though they have so far remained willing to work on his policy agenda.
Republican lawmakers this weekend took President Donald Trump to task over what they deemed a weak response to white supremacist groups and violent clashes in Charlottesville, Va., the latest sign that Trump’s grip on the party may be weakening.
The outspoken group included past Trump antagonists such as Sens. Ben Sasse, Jeff Flake and Marco Rubio, but it also included prominent conservative voices who aren’t known as fierce critics of the administration, such as Sens. Orrin Hatch and Cory Gardner.
The Republicans joined civil rights leaders and Democrats who reacted angrily when Trump said Saturday he condemned “this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides — on many sides.” His repetition of “many sides” struck critics as seeming to equate the white supremacist groups who organized the rally with counter-protesters, though the White House later sought to recast his statement to be more critical of hate groups.
One woman was killed and more injured Saturday when a car plowed into a group of counter-protesters. Police later charged a man who had been photographed holding a symbol of one of the groups that organized the Charlottesville event, the Associated Press reported.
“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, a Coloradoan who is considered a rising star in the party, said on CNN Sunday.