WASHINGTON (ABC News) – Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, urged President Trump not to equivocate when addressing white nationalists and the protesters who opposed them, after the president blamed “both sides” for the violence that broke out in Charlottesville on Saturday.
“Hatch urged him to speak clearly and unequivocally on these issues, because even the appearance of tolerating hate and bigotry only divides us further,” an aide to the senior Utah senator told ABC.
Hatch, who initiated the call with the White House, also said he wants Trump to find opportunities to unify the nation “and come together so we can grow from this.”
Hatch, who has occasionally defended the president even when his fellow Republican senators decry his actions, also stressed that he wants to help Trump be successful in any way.
Hatch issued a detailed statement Monday saying the nation “has some soul-searching to do.” He also spoke about his brother who died fighting in World War II.
We should call evil by its name. My brother didn’t give his life fighting Hitler for Nazi ideas to go unchallenged here at home. -OGH— Senator Hatch Office (@senorrinhatch) August 12, 2017
“I was just eight years old when my older brother Jesse was killed in World War II. As I said on Saturday, Jesse didn’t give his life fighting Hitler for Nazi ideas to go unchallenged here at home. I will never hesitate to speak out against hate — whenever and wherever I see it.”
Read Hatch’s full statement below:
In the wake of this weekend’s violence, our nation has some soul-searching to do. It is not a time to say “What about” but to seriously ask ourselves “What now?
The choice before us is stark: Either we succumb to the bigotry and tribalism which threaten to tear us apart–or we condemn evil in all its forms and determine to come together as one nation, one people, united under God.
I believe in the infinity capacity of the American people. And I believe that the unbreakable bonds of affection, which for so long have held us together as a nation, are stronger than the forces which seek to divide us.
Above all, I believe in the virtue of civility. While I have strived to demonstrate compassion, comity, and respect throughout my public service, I have, at various times, fallen short of the ideal. But today, I am recommitting myself to civility–and I hope you will join me in doing the same.
Civility requires that we approach debate and discourse with sound logic and new ideas, not with cardboard shields and tiki torches. It asks that we bear our beliefs proudly and in the open, not behind the cowardly anonymity of social media accounts.
The tragedy in Charlottesville calls for a moment of national renewal. Let us all resolve to change. Let us all commit to fighting hatred in our communities with love, empathy, and understanding.
A White House spokesperson did not respond to requests for their own readout of the call.