Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) blamed President Trump on Twitter for the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, Monday — before quickly backtracking and replacing the tweet with a softer scold.
Sanders tweeted late Monday that Trump “absolutely” bears responsibility for what happened in Charlottesville when fringe right-wing groups and white nationalists clashed with “Antifa” counter-protesters.
One counter-protester was killed when an alleged Nazi sympathizer drove into a crowd. The suspected driver, 20-year-old James Fields Jr., was arrested on suspicion of homicide.
Trump condemned the violence, and on Monday, he specifically called out white nationalists and the Ku Klux Klan, but many on the left and in the media have sought to blame Trump, at least in part, for the violence from the fringe groups.
As first reported by CNN’s Andrew Kaczynski and documented by Politwoops, Sanders struggled to formulate his scathing critique of how Trump was to blame:
— andrew kaczynski 🤔 (@KFILE) August 14, 2017
Sanders initially tweeted, “Do I think President Trump bares [sic] responsibility for conjuring the behavior of white supremacists in this country? Absolutely, yes.”
That tweet, however, was quickly deleted and replaced with a new, slightly more qualified, entry: “Do I think the president bares [sic] some responsibility for what happened in Charlottesville? Absolutely, yes.”
Sanders eventually settled on a significantly more tame tweet that linked to a video of his recent remarks:
The message President Trump sent out to racists and Neo-Nazis all over the country this past weekend is this is okay. pic.twitter.com/k7o161yzuU
— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) August 14, 2017
Sanders’ team may have been wary of assigning too much blame to Trump, considering the alleged shooter at a Republican baseball practice in June, who wounded four people, including Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA), was a staunch Sanders supporter.
A Facebook page apparently belonging to alleged shooter James Hodgkinson included a profile photo touting “democratic socialism,” and the cover photo was an image of a smiling Sen. Sanders. Hodgkinson reportedly campaigned for Sanders in his failed bid for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination.