Democratic National Committee Vice Chairman Rep. Keith Ellison says he sees President Trump's reluctance to denounce white supremacy as evidence he has sympathy for them.
"This is happening within a certain context. I have to come to a conclusion, based on all of the behavior I've seen out of Donald Trump, that the reason he is reluctant to denounce white supremacy and neo-Nazis and Klan members is because he has some level of sympathy for them," Ellison told the Washington Post.
The Minnesota Democrat also raised questions about the president's seeming immediacy to react to his critics but slowness to name neo-Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan by name in the aftermath of the violent Charlottesville rally that left three people dead.
"I mean he is quick as a whip to verbally attack anyone he pleases," he added. "When people started jumping off his manufacturing council, he attacked them immediately. When Mitch McConnell didn't pass the repeal the Affordable Care Act, he attacked him right away. But somehow it takes him two and a half days to denounce neo-Nazis, including Ku Klux Klan people."
Ellison added the only conclusion he can draw is that the president not only tolerates the behavior of white supremacists but finds it acceptable and he is greenlighting their actions.
"I think the white supremacists are feeling emboldened because they received the signal from the president of the United States that it's all right for them to be active, to be aggressive, to be threatening. They feel greenlighted," Ellison said.
Still, Ellison acknowledged that his own party has work to do in bringing the country together and for him it is not just about winning elections.
"We have got to be visible, palpable and present in the lives of Americans. People have got to know that this is not about winning some election. This is about saving our country," Ellison said.