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One Person Dead, 19 Hurt When Car Hits Crowd in Virginia; White Nationalists, Counter Protesters Clash in Virginia; Trump Talks Violent Protests in Charlottesville During V.A. Speech. Aired 5-6p ET
Aired August 12, 2017 - 17:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[17:00:00] SCOTT JENNINGS, FORMER SPECIAL ASSISTANT TO PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: I want to feel that he understands what it means to embrace that mantel. And so, tonight, tomorrow in the days, in the aftermath of Charlottesville, I want to see him embrace that. He has brought up Lincoln before he brought him up just the other day I think in his speech and he's brought him up on the campaign trail. I want to see him channel the spirit of Abraham Lincoln. He's a Republican president, he can do it, he can rise to this occasion and I hope comes back tonight or tomorrow, in the next few days and gets its right.
ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: Scott Jennings and Brian Fallon, thank you both for joining me.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
CABRERA: You're in the CNN NEWSROOM, I'm Ana Cabrera in New York.
It is our breaking news right now on CNN, "Terror in Virginia." Some early casualty figures now coming in from a day of violence in Charlottesville, Virginia. One person is dead, at least 19 others hurt after a speeding car plowed into a crowd of people during an already chaotic city wide protest. I have to warn you what you are about to see there is very graphic and shows people being very badly hurt, possibly killed.
Again, the city of Charlottesville just releasing that one person who died when this car suddenly plowed into a crowd of people, at least 19 others were injured. And that's in addition to at least 15 other people who were hurt in the violent clashes throughout the day. Watch this.
It all started before noon today. White nationalists and extreme white right-wingers are angry at the removal of the statue honoring of a confederate general. They clash with counter protesters and the two groups went from shouting to fighting with sticks and bottles and pepper spray.
CNN correspondent Kaylee Hartung was on the scene in Charlottesville is joining us now. Kaylee, you just spoke to a couple of people who saw what happened regarding that car that sped into the crowd of people. The video we just played. What did they tell you? KAYLEE HARTUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Ana, I spoke to the man who
shot the video that CNN has been airing and it was very interesting to hear what transpired in the moments just before we see that video and in the moments after. Now, as he explained it to me, they actually saw the car that dodge that plowed through the crowd of people sitting at the top of this street that's just to my left.
They saw it sitting there for several moments before he then plowed through that group of people. So while that video already seems to suggest a very deliberate act, what I learned from these two men certainly seemed to confirm that this was a very targeted effort by the driver of that car. They said there were tinted windows, they didn't get a good look at that driver, just that he was a white male with closely shaved sides of his head.
That driver is now in custody by police here and this crime scene behind me as it's unfolded it's now the site of a homicide as we have now confirmed there's one dead and 19 injured. And that in addition to 15 others who were injured through today's earlier protests. Now, we have discussed the violence that was seen on Virginia's campus last night as white supremacists marched through the campus with their tiki torches.
Those torches and they were used as weapons through the air and chemicals dispersed and fist to fist confrontation more of that today outside of a emancipation park, the center of the controversy, that's the part where General Robert E. Lee statue still stands. And as we saw protesters and counter protesters clashes there with bottles. Some filled with cement. The poles of their flags used as weapons and more fist to fist contact but none of that compares to the violence we have seen on the streets of Charlottesville with that single vehicle plowing through a group of people resulting in the death of one -- Ana.
CABRERA: Kaylee, we know a lot of the local officials there have been tweeting out messages urging calm, asking people to go home. We haven't actually seen the governor come out and make remarks on camera just yet. I'm curious what you're hearing from those local officials and state officials about their plans moving forward. It is going to be dark here pretty soon. We know that these groups are still in the area.
HARTUNG: They are, Ana. And that's a big question that we have, when you look at the numbers, the thousands of protesters who gathered today and were then dispersed, where have they gone and what could night fall bring? As you can see, I have got state police just behind me, National Guard and local police around hand as well. We have not yet seen the mayor or the governor speak in front of camera today if we do get any word of that, we will be sure to let you know. But there's still a lot of uncertainty, a lot of tension and a lot of unrest here in Charlottesville although from what we can see now on the downtown mall, it's quiet as we have seen it all day.
CABRERA: All right. Kaylee Hartung, let's hope it stays that way. Thank you very much. Earlier, President Trump addressed the violence, street protests at
Charlottesville. Disturbing images of the violence continuing to come into CNN this afternoon.
Let's go to our White House correspondent Athena Jones who was there when the President addressed the nation. Just a couple of hours ago, she's joining us. From Bridgewater, New Jersey. The President at his golf club in nearby in that area. Athena, what did the President say exactly about the violence we are seeing in Charlottesville today?
[17:05:28] ATHENA JONES, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Ana. Well, he spent a few minutes talking about the violence in Charlottesville, before going on to talk about how well the country is doing and the economy is doing. Let's play a bit of what he had to say and then talk about it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We're closely following the terrible events unfolding in Charlottesville, Virginia. We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides. On many sides.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JONES: And Ana, it's the last phrase, on many sides that's gotten a lot of attention in the last couple of hours since we heard the President speak. And I asked several White House officials what he meant by that. Who was he referring to when he talked about the hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides? This is the response I got just a short while ago from a White House official who told me the President was condemning hatred, bigotry and violence from all sources and all sides.
There was violence between protesters and counter protesters today. So, that is what the White House official is saying to explain the President's use of that phrase, on many sides which rubbed a lot of people the wrong way. Precisely because the President did not in his remarks at any point use the word race or racism or address the fact that it was white nationalists who organized the demonstration last night carrying torches through the streets of Charlottesville.
An image that evokes images of the past. The post reconstruction south. When you saw gangs of white nationalist doing the same. He also didn't address the fact that it was white nationalists, some carrying Nazi emblems and confederate flags on the streets of Charlottesville today that led to these demonstrations, that led to this violence. The President also went on to say that we want to get the situation straightened out in Charlottesville.
We want to study it. We want to see what we're doing wrong as a country where things like this can happen. But that is precisely what the journalists in the room were trying to ask the President about as he left the room. He ignored several shouted questions about precisely those white nationalists who organized this protest. He ignored questions about whether he wants their support. This is something I've also addressed with the White House.
Just to find out, where the President stands on white nationalists and white nationalism. Does he condemn what they stand for, does he plan to speak out against it? I haven't got an answer to that. And it's something that we haven't -- we have to point out, we haven't seen the President do. We haven't seen the President come out and explicitly in recent times condemn these white nationalists -- Ana.
CABRERA: All right, Athena Jones, traveling with the President who is spending the weekend in Bedminster, New Jersey. Thank you very much.
Joining us on the phone now, civil rights activist Reverend Jesse Jackson. Reverend Jackson, thanks for joining us. We heard President Trump condemn hatred and bigotry on display. From your view, were the President's words strong enough?
REVEREND JESSE JACKSON, CIVIL RIGHTS ACTIVIST: No. Not with the action. He did that because when David Duke endorsed him publicly, he was embarrassed and he had to react. The Department of Justice for example has taken away money designed to pursue violent white nationalists and landed on reverse -- on affirmative action. He has said, it's a -- he's set a dangerous climate for us. Talking about Obama's birth, which stirred up hate and fear.
And then the five young black men in New York saying, he raped a white women, they wrongfully convicted them and that police should let their head on the police car. We just see a pattern of anti-human rights. And it manifests itself, one, in the -- in the treatment of refugees. The treatment of immigrants. He's making the nation smaller and smaller and even much more bitter.
CABRERA: Reverend Jackson, the President did condemn all sides in the clashes and he did not use the word white supremacy or that phrase. I know that the omission of using that is hitting a real nerve for people like yourself. A lot of the President's critics saying, he should have called them out by name, name the group specifically. Call a spade a spade. So to speak. Explain why that is so important.
[17:10:15] JACKSON: Well, you know, when (INAUDIBLE) and he said yes, they should beat the protesters and he would pay the bill, many of the whites feel displaced by progress. You see the civil rights movement (inaudible). You can't have the Tennessee titans -- you couldn't have Nissan -- in Mississippi. The civil rights made the new south new and made it better. Yet, their fears have been exploited and the anger and the -- and it was outrageous. The poverty law center in Montgomery, even they have more details that the -- that the use of the fear and the anti-American government, anti-civil rights, it's just prevailing wind.
CABRERA: Tell me what you want to hear from the President. What could he do now following up on those initial remarks that would calm some of the angst that is out there among people of color, among other minorities in this country, that you have been addressing in some of your remarks.
JACKSON: He should assure them that there's security in this country and that Kim's threats would not harm them. Maybe he should call them -- and give the assurance to the governor of Guam he gave yesterday and if necessary to break up the armed militarized race supremacist groups. If you threaten to send them -- perhaps in Venezuela, but the real flight now is in Charlottesville. It could get worse unless -- there should be a conference on violence and cures and causes. A conference dealing with fears, real and imagined. With the growth of hate in our country.
CABRERA: All right. Reverend Jesse Jackson, thank you so much. Thank you very much for weighing in. We really appreciate your thoughts tonight. We'll take a quick break. We'll be back in a moment.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[17:16:50] CHRIS MAHONY, EYEWITNESS: So, we were walking down the road as Brennan mentioned, but we came around the corner and you can see the car just over the other side of the road. Just sat there, looking down the road. And as he said the protesters were coming down Fourth Street. So, I don't -- I thought that is a bit strange, they didn't seem to be any other cars stopping him from going and then of course, moments later, we heard a car going incredibly fast, you know, down the road. And saw it plow into the crowd and then it reversed back and then some of us ran after the car to take a photo and then followed it -- ran down the road, alerting the police to chase it.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, what transpired in those minutes after the car left this block and left view? What was the scene like here?
BRENNAN GILMORE, EYEWITNESS: Well, there was almost an immediate response from first responders. There were state police right here on the mall. I don't know if they actually witnessed it, so we alerted them. We said, you need to get down there immediately. There is first aide crews came in. And then pretty quickly an armored vehicle came down to block the scene. So, you know, the response was quick. But, you know, obviously I understand one person lost their lives and, you know, it was a very, very violent attack.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And Brennan, you said that you helped administer first aid to a woman. What else did you observe in terms of victims of that crash?
GILMORE: There were a lot of victims around the scene of the actual crash, he's halfway down the block and then people coming out, you know, bloodied, shaken. Obviously, people having -- you know, hyperventilating. And then, yes, again let the professionals take over. And then we got out of the, you know, got out of scene. It was obviously increasingly a violent day in Charlottesville and I certainly agree with the mayor's recommendation that people should stay home.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Now, Brenna, you travelled here from Washington -- I'm sorry, Chris, you travelled here from Washington, D.C. to be a part of the counter protest to the unite the right rally. How do you describe the emotions you felt as you saw this attack on other counter protesters like yourself?
MAHONY: I can't honestly say though it was emotions of surprise because up around the center of the protest from both sides, you had a high level of antagonism. Right? It wasn't necessarily peaceful. You had people literally in military fatigues with arms walking around. So, of course that's an incredibly intimidating environment. So, then naturally when that happened, I thought this is someone deliberately attacking these people.
You know, because of their beliefs. And, yes, and like Brennan said, yes, it's a little bit traumatizing of course. You know, to witness these people go flying. You know, and later, you know, the carnage. Everybody lying around. Because I walked with the police officer back, you know, from around the corner after we had said, look, one of these cars has to follow and now they were fantastic.
You know, the first officer I came into contact with I said, that car just plowed into a whole load of people, you know, sprinting down the road and I was trying to get away and maneuver through all of these other vehicles and he immediately got on the mic. You know? And got in contact with another police car that kind of pulled out behind it. I think because it was suspicious, because the front of the car was all smashed up. And they had the helicopter overhead and he said, yes, we're on it quickly, tell me where this has happened. And of course, by the time I got back like Brennan said, you know, the response was in full swing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: We were just listening to two eyewitnesses in Charlottesville, Virginia, of a car that plowed into a crowd of people following ongoing protests and clashes between different groups in Charlottesville today. The site of a white supremacist rally that was taking place earlier this afternoon. There were violent clashes there. At least 15 people injured in those clashes and then 19 people and one person killed. Nine people injured and one person killed in that car crash that those witnesses were talking about.
[17:21:01] We're continuing to follow away these developments there. The President reacting just in the last couple of hours, giving remarks to the nation regarding this event saying we condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides, on many sides. It's been going on for a long time in our country, not Donald Trump, not Barack Obama and it's been going on for a long, long time, it has not a place in America. Stay with us. You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[17:25:58] TRUMP: What is vital now is a swift restoration of law and order and the protection of innocent lives. No citizen should ever fear for their safety and security in our society and no child should ever be afraid to go outside and play or be with their parents. And have a good time. I just got off the phone with the governor of Virginia Terry McAuliffe. And we agreed that the hate and the division must stop. And must stop right now.
We have to come together as Americans with love for our nation and true affection -- really, and I say this so strongly, true affection for each other. Our country is doing very well in so many ways. We have record -- just absolute record employment. We have unemployment, the lowest it's been in almost 17 years.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: Let's bring in CNN political commentator Van Jones and CNN political commentator Ben Ferguson. Ben Ferguson, a Trump supporter and Van Jones not so much. Van, you have not weighed in yet on the President's comments and the events unfolding in Charlottesville, Virginia, today, the breaking news we have been following here on CNN for hours now. We have seen the President make those remarks we just played.
He also said earlier, the sound we have been playing over and over again, that we condemn in the strongest possible terms, this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides, on many sides referencing the ongoing violence and the car that plowed into people today in Charlottesville. What do you think about this President's response? Is it strong enough, if not, which is what we have heard from many of the critics, what would you like to hear?
VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I wanted to say first of all that, you know, somebody lost their life today. Somebody got up this morning and they said, I want to go out and I want to bear witness, because there's people out here who are flying Nazi flags in America. You know, our great grandparents went and shed blood to stop the Nazis. There are people out there who are saying, they're in the Klan.
You know, Dr. King is martyred and the cause is trying to stop that kind of thing. Every responsible parents teaches their kids, do not hate someone because of the color of their skin and there are people marching in America that are 100 percent in favor of that kind of hatred. So, somebody woke up this morning in America and said, I want to bear witness against that and they lost their life in our country. That person is now dead.
Now, the partisanship has to go out the window. The -- all that has to stop. This is a horrible, horrible outcome in our country, and my problem is there is now -- there appears to be a vacuum in terms of moral leadership. This is the one clear cut thing when you have Nazis mowing down Americans on American soil. The word terrorism, the word Nazi, the word white supremacist, the word thug, all those words should come immediately to the lips of a leader, because you don't want the President winking or nodding or sending any signal that maybe you can do this and not be condemned by the President.
Maybe you could do this tomorrow or tonight and not be condemned by the President. I think the President did half of a good job. Maybe two-thirds of a good job. A lot of his words were good, but it was what he didn't say that I think really shocked a lot of people and if I -- if it were my kid, my mom, who died and I saw the President come out and gave that kind of statement, I would have been even more shocked and horrified. I think he missed a tremendous opportunity today.
CABRERA: Ben, how do you respond?
[17:30:00] BEN FERGUSON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I'm going to read the words he said: "No matter our color, creed, religion, or political party, we are all Americans first." He said, "It's an egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence." That is an incredibly clear statement by the president of the United States of America. I wish people would just actually look at those words and read them and tell me how that is not -- he uses the word "egregious." "Display of hatred." He used the word "hatred." That is a very clear word. He used the word "bigotry." That's a very clear word. When you use the word "bigotry," there's no mincing of the word "bigotry." Bigotry is bigotry. He used the word "violence." He said, "No matter our color" -- talking about the issue of race -- "our creed, our religion or political party we are all Americans first." He said two things there.
JONES: Ben --
FERGUSON: Let me at least finish, because this is an important point.
FERGUSON: The president there made it clear, this is egregious. It is a display of hatred. It is a display of bigotry and violence. Those are words that people need to actually look at, and look at the definition, and realize that the president was clear in his response.
Now, I understand that there's people that want this to become political. But what I would say is --
CABRERA: Hold on.
FERGUSON: -- the president was clear about this.
CABRERA: Hold on, there.
Hold on, Van, before you respond to Ben.
It isn't clear to everybody, Ben. In fact, Republican Congressman Cory Gardner came out and wrote this just a moment ago on Twitter. "Mr. President," he writes, "We must call evil by its name. These were white supremacists and this was domestic terrorism."
That is being pretty specific and pretty clear.
CABRERA: Why did the president have a hard time using those kinds of words?
FERGUSON: I think he used other words that are very clear. He used the word "egregious display of hatred." He used the word "bigotry." He used the word "violence."
FERGUSON: I'm sorry that synonyms of those words were not used and, therefore, the people want to attack the president.
JONES: I have tremendous respect for you, buddy. Ben, I think you and I have great respect as anyone in this business. And I don't want to get into some kind of a food fight here. But let me tell you a coupling of things you're not taking account of yet in our conversation. Number one, before he said those things, he used the term "on many sides." And the problem with that is -- and maybe what he was referring to is some of the stuff last night -- but can you imagine an American president coming out after Ft. Hood when a Muslim killed a bunch of Americans, and saying there are violence on many sides or something like that? We have ISIS-like tactics now, mowing people down in cars, happening in the United States. That's only coming from one side. There are people coming out, open carry, shields. That's only happening on one side. So when -- I think the reason that the words that you're talking about didn't land as well, Ben, is because he said that "many sides" point. Can you understand why, when you are kind of -- you kind of have a false equivalence about the violence, then the other comments don't land as well?
FERGUSON: Let me say this. When you talk about open carry, for example, there were people that were open carrying when the police officers were shot down in Dallas that night when I was there.
FERGUSON: So you can't just look at one situation.
JONES: And President Obama condemned that very directly.
FERGUSON: Let me say this. And so did the president. He used the words. Trump condemns the "egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence. "
JONES: Which side, which side. On both sides, on many sides. And he did that "on many sides." That's the problem. Am I wrong?
FERGUSON: I tweeted out a picture of a young man with a flame thrower, using a can of spray paint on fire at some of the other people on the other side, that was put out by a major news organization today in Charlottesville. There is violence on both sides. If you're using a can of spray paint as a flame thrower at people, the white supremacists, that is violence on both sides. Go look at the picture and tell me there was not violence on both sides. JONES: Nobody is saying that.
FERGUSON: And the president said, everyone go home--
JONES: Look, Ben --
FERGUSON: Everyone go home and stop the violence, is his point tonight. We should both be able to say that without having to worry that someone is going to take us out of context.
JONES: Well, I -- here's the problem. That people are not taking him out of context. You may be taking him out of context. I watched the whole thing, start to finish. I was hopeful that he would be as forceful. Listen, when you have that shooting in Dallas, President Obama was absolutely forceful, unequivocal. We weren't having questions about, was he condemning the violence, was he condemning the protesters, was he condemning someone else? He was clear and he was forceful. When you have an act of terrorism in the United States, the mere fact that you and I are sitting here and parsing the words of the president, you want this -- that is a failure of leadership on its face.
FERGUSON: Hey, listen, Van --
JONES: There's nobody that wants for us to come together today more than me. I think the president could have done a better job helping us. And for you to say that he --
JONES: -- would you give him an "A"-plus, "A"-minus, a "C," a "D"? You think it was an "A"-plus speech, when someone was murdered in America for their political beliefs in America by a Nazi?
[17:35:12] FERGUSON: I'll say again, "egregious display of hatred and bigotry" -- which very clearly talks to right supremacism and racism -- and "violence" -- which talks directly about the act. He then said, "No matter our color, creed, religion or political party we are all Americans first."
JONES: That part is good. That part is good.
CABRERA: Let me ask you a follow-up question, Ben.
JONES: That part is good.
CABRERA: I think everybody agrees that those words -- those are appreciated.
But, Ben, the president was asked specifically about why he didn't use the words "white nationalist," or what does he say to the white nationalists and white supremacists who are at that rally in follow-up questions at that news conference, and the president simply didn't answer the question. FERGUSON: Well, he didn't answer any of the questions, so let's not
act like he chose not to answer that question. He didn't take questions --
CABRERA: Why didn't he answer the question --
FERGUSON: He made a statement. This goes back to David Duke. He's condemned David Duke and the KKK and those groups during the campaign --
CABRERA: Why not condemn them?
CABRERA: Why not condemn them again?
FERGUSON: He condemned them by using the words, "an egregious display of hatred and bigotry and violence."
FERGUSON: He's talking about the white supremacists. Here's my thing. Are we now at a point in this country, when the president walks out and he says, "displays of hatred, bigotry and violence," he condemns them at the strongest point, and says as strong as I can condemn them I condemn them, does he have to walk out there and check every box so that everyone will be calm and say, KKK, check. David Duke, check. White supremacist, check. He can't just say, "egregious display of hatred," which encompasses --
CABRERA: OK --
JONES: You asked me a question -- you asked me a question at the very beginning, which I didn't get a chance to answer because I got emotional. You said, what could the president have said that would have been more comforting. And I think there were a couple of things that he could have said. First of all, he could have said he's going to use the full resources of the federal government to find all the conspirators. It's clear that there wasn't just one guy with a car. There was a whole thing happening there. I think if he had said, listen, I am not going to tolerate this, and I'm going to act as -- I'm not just going to say that the hatred should stop. I'm going to use the full force of my powers to get to the bottom of this and make sure it doesn't happen. Those are the things a president says that sends a clear signal. What you want from the president is a clear signal to the people who may be thinking this is now legitimate politics in America that you are going to be now against the president of the United States and the full power of his office. I didn't get that impression from that comment. Maybe there will be more. But he left a lot on the table in the first comment.
FERGUSON: When he said he talked to the governor, who's a pretty liberal governor, who's not a conservative, and said that they both agreed and they had a very clear conversation, and that he was going to make sure that the federal government was available for the resources needed for the citizens in that state, and they agreed about people going home and coming together, I don't think there's any indication and there's no reason to imply that the president is somehow not giving the full support to the governor, who he spoke to, and going to give the full support of the federal government what needs to be done.
FERGUSON: Is there any doubt in your mind that the individual driving the car that, apparently, has been arrested, is somehow not going to be held accountable for his actions?
FERGUSON: And there's no one out there in law enforcement saying he's not going to be charged with a hate crime, which I think he will be, and should be. Again, I think we're trying to criticize things that haven't happened yet.
JONES: Ben? No, Ben, here's the thing. One of the things that you like about Donald Trump is the forcefulness and the clarity of his communication. And we are now in a situation where there was -- there were opportunities -- I don't think you can argue -- I mean, listen, I don't think you want to march on every plank here. He could have been more forceful in condemning the person who killed an American today. He was not forceful in condemning, apparently, a Nazi who killed an American. Now, you can say there was some language we could be happy about. I'm going to agree with you. There was some language we could all be happy about. But there's something very, very disturbing to me when you have this kind of thing. And because other acts of terrorism -- he never gets tired of condemning other forms of terrorism. He never gets tired of condemning Islamic forms of terrorism. But he has a one-time denunciation of David Duke, who is stirring up trouble, and he never has to say anything about it again? There's something wrong with that
JONES: That's not right.
FERGUSON: Van, I don't think you give legitimacy for giving Duke what he wants. David Duke wants to be on TV and to recruit white supremacists and inspire them. You don't talk about a guy like that and put him on TV, because that's his goal. Any time he can run out there and mention anything about any politician that gets him on TV, he's going to do it. David Duke -
FERGUSON: He's a disgusting and vile human being.
[17:40:10] CABRERA: Van, let me ask you this question, Van, real quick. I mean, could it be that somebody like David Duke is using the president as cover?
JONES: Sure. Hey, listen, all I'm saying is if -- at some point, you say he doesn't have to say David Duke or white nationalists or doesn't have to say thug that he says about other things, and that sends a signal. You don't want a dog whistle today. You want a megaphone today. You want a bullhorn today. And what we got was too much of a dog whistle.
JONES: Hey, listen, I'm giving you the feedback.
FERGUSON: Van, if a dog whistle is using words like "egregious display of hatred and bigotry and violence" --
JONES: On many sides. On many sides.
FERGUSON: -- then you're stretching so much to try to turn --
CABRERA: It's -- it seems to bother so many people.
JONES: On many sides.
CABRERA: Did he say that because he was addressing the comments to his base?
FERGUSON: I think it's very clear --
CABRERA: If not, why not be more specific and address the criticisms --
CABRERA: -- that are out there regarding that message?
FERGUSON: This is a really important point. When the president walked out there today, a state of emergency had already been declared. You have now two different sides --
(CROSSTALK) FERGUSON: -- that are very angry. They are very concerned tonight about massive violence erupting between the two sides. They are very concerned about retaliation. Because you have two sides that are very angry right now. You had anger before this. You had people using cans of paint, using them as flame throwers. You had both sides that have ratcheted up. The president's point was -- it was responsible to make. When you have a state of emergency declared, you want both sides to calm down. You don't want retaliation for the white supremacists. You don't want people to go and riot tonight. You don't want the white supremacists to get back together and have a game plan.
FERGUSON: When he said both sides, his point was clear. After condemning this, using the words "display of hatred, bigotry and violence," but you --
CABRERA: All right. Last word, Van, and then we have to take a break.
JONES: The great thing about you, Ben, is you, yourself have condemned these people over and over and over again.
FERGUSON: Over and over again.
JONES: And yet, your president didn't. So weird to be talking to you because I have been so proud of you.
JONES: Well, listen, I don't think the country agrees with you yet. Maybe he'll do better the next one. But so far, I think he missed an opportunity.
CABRERA: Van, Ben, thank you both. We appreciate the thoughts.
CABRERA: We are minutes away from a press conference with the Virginia governor. We'll bring that to you live as it happens.
Stay with us. You're in the CNN NEWSROOM.
[14:46:53] CABRERA: White nationalists and extreme right-wing people are angry at the removal of a statue honoring a Confederate General. That's what prompted them to gather in the park in Virginia, in Charlottesville, Virginia, where they then clashed with counter protesters. The two groups went from shouting to fighting with sticks and bottles and paper spray. At least 15 people were injured. And then another 19 people were injured and one person killed when a car plowed into the group of the counter protesters. I want to bring in CNN correspondent, Kaylee Hartung, who is in
Charlottesville this afternoon.
Kaylee, you have spoken to some of those who saw what happened when that car sped into the crowd of people. Tell us more about what you heard from them and what the scene is right now.
KAYLEE HARTUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Ana, the two men I spoke to, who were eyewitnesses to that crash, were both traumatized by what they had seen, the violence they saw. They described it as an act of terrorism.
Now, one of the men was actually the shooter of the video that we have been showing you on CNN, the graphic images. What was interesting for me to hear from the two men is what transpired in the moment just before that video began. They saw that Dodge vehicle sitting at the top of the street that I'm standing on now. They saw it there for several moments looking at the crowd. And while there were questions of whether or not that collision could have been intentional, once we saw that video, it's very clear that it seemed to be of that nature. But based on what they say, the driver looking down the road at the counter protesters, it seemed very clear to them that he was eyeing those ahead of him.
Now, these two men also spoke to what happened after that collision. One of them helping administer first aid to victims as they fled the scene. Another who travelled up the street to alert police of what had just happened and ensure that the vehicle had been identified.
CABRERA: All right. I thought we'd hear some sound there so, hence, my little pause there.
Kaylee, I want to address this issue that has come up over and over again since the president's remarks, that he said "many sides" in condemning the bigotry and the hatred and the violence occurring in Virginia today. These many sides. Can you shed some light on to the facts of the situation on the ground there?
HARTUNG: Ana, today, we have talked so much about the protesters and the counter protesters during this United the Right rally. Now, from what I observed, those protesters we speak of, those who categorize themselves the Alt-Right, white supremacists or white nationalists, you see the Confederate flags being flown among them, there are symbols that suggest racism. The counter protesters, for their part, there were plenty of them voicing opposition to President Trump. Among them, and those associated with Black Lives Matter and also faith-based organizations, members of the clergy.
From what I observed with my own eyes, Ana, in Emancipation Park, I saw bottles flying from both side. I saw violence coming from both sides. I don't I don't think it's fair to put the incitement of violence or the instigation of violence on one side or the other. We have seen so many skirmishes throughout the day, whether it be in the downtown mall or Emancipation Park, where parties on both sides were guilty of beginning that, of throwing the first punch, of throwing the first bottle. You will hear various arguments from each side that they would be there to be peaceful. But we witnessed violence, the most egregious of such, that violence, that ended in the loss of one life and 19 injured, as that car plowed into counter protesters. The driver of that car now in custody by police.
[17:50:47] CABRERA: At the top of the hour, we expect to hear remarks from the governor of Virginia, Terry McAuliffe. What are we anticipating from this press conference? He has not spoken out so far today.
HARTUNG: No, he's not, Ana. We have heard from him on Twitter and through official statements. After seeing the images out of Charlottesville last night with some of the white supremacists marching through the University of Virginia campus with their Tiki torches lit evoking images reminiscent of the KKK, he said this morning that, "Acts and rhetoric in Charlottesville over the past 24 hours are unacceptable and must stop." I anticipate hearing more of the same from governor McAuliffe. You'll have local officials here from Charlottesville involved in that press conference as well. I can only imagine they will acknowledge the tragedy of the loss of life here in Charlottesville today, and pleas for peace and any outsiders to return to their homes.
CABRERA: Kaylee Hartung, in Charlottesville, Virginia. That you so much, Kaylee. Just stay safe, and keep us apprised of the situation there.
We'll take a quick break. These images from earlier today in Charlottesville, Virginia, where more than 30 people were injured and one person was killed.
We're moments away from the governor of Virginia making some comments live here on CNN.
[17:56:29] CABRERA: As we continue to follow the breaking news out of Charlottesville, Virginia, the president just tweeting a few minutes ago. I want to bring his latest words to you. Here's what he says, "We will continue to follow developments in Charlottesville and will provide whatever assistance is needed. We are ready, willing and able."
He provided a link of the speech he gave a couple hours ago as part of an event dealing with veterans legislation.
He also writes, "What is vital now is a swift restoration of law and order and the protection of citizens lives. No citizen should fear for their safety in our society."
I want to bring in "New York Times" contributing writer and CNN opinion writer, Anoushay Hussain.
Anoushay, I know you know Charlottesville, Virginia, very well. You went to college there. Tell me your thoughts on seeing today's violence and what looks like a deep racial divide in that normally quiet town. ANOUSHAY HUSSAIN, CNN OPINION WRITER: Ana, I can't even tell you.
It's so surreal to me. Lot of my friends call me a UVA fanatic because I love UVA so much. I came to UVA as an international student from Bangladesh, so I'm not being dramatic when I say, for me, the best of America was Charlottesville.
And seeing the scenes across our television screens today is so unreal, and it's so hurtful, it's so hard for me not to be emotional. And I just want to say where is the outrage? Where is the outrage from our president? I know we've had racial -- racial tensions in this country, have been ongoing for hundreds of years, and even in Charlottesville, in my beautiful sleepy, perfect college town, Thomas Jefferson's academic village. Even underneath the surface -- I was a student in the '90s, there were things always simmering. I was thinking how students would self-segregate. We had something called Black Eating Time in our dining halls, something termed the Black Bus Stop, the bus stop where students would catch buses to ride around the grounds. These tensions were always there.
The issue today is that hate groups, neo-Nazi groups, they feel that their feelings are validated, and our president is not speaking out. Where is the outrage?
CABRERA: What do you want to hear from this president?
HUSSEIN: I want to hear specifics from this president. The statement that he released, the statement that he said, we could apply that to a situation anywhere. Why isn't he coming out against hate groups, against the Klan? These people are not just regular protesters. They are Klan members without their hoods. Why isn't he speaking about neo-Fascism, neo-Nazism? This is not an Alt-Right movement. This is neo-Nazism. We have to speak out against this. Our president needs to make it clear that it is not OK. This is one of the best schools in the country. This is one of the best universities in the world. And we need a clear statement from our president that this kind of violence will not be tolerated, not for everyone. This is white supremacy, supremacists we are seeing out in full force.
CABRERA: Anoushay Hussain, thank you so much for joining me.
HUSSAIN: Thanks, Ana. Appreciate it.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
CABRERA: You are in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Ana Cabrera, in New York.
We're standing by to hear the first official word from law enforcement and emergency officials in Charlottesville, Virginia, right now. A news conference is expected to happen any moment. We'll go to it live. That news conference with the governor of Virginia. Again, any moment. We'll bring it to you on CNN.
Now, the terror in Virginia is our breaking news right now. I have some confirmed casualty figures to share with you. One person is dead.