US military chiefs defy Trump on Charlottesville
Iran Press TV
Thu Aug 17, 2017 9:38AM
Commanders of the US Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps have publicly condemned the recent outburst of "hatred" and "extremism" during a gathering of white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia, challenging President and Commander-in-Chief Donald Trump who refuses to denounce the inherently racist groups.
"The Army doesn't tolerate racism, extremism, or hatred in our ranks," General Mark Milley, chief of staff of the US Army, wrote in a tweet on Wednesday. "It's against our Values and everything we've stood for since 1775."
On Saturday, hundreds of torch-carrying white nationalists were confronted by a group of anti-racism protesters at the same location.
The encounter soon turned bloody as a 20-year-old suspected Nazi sympathizer smashed his car into the counter-protesters, killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer and injuring some 20 others.
Trump has blamed both sides for the violence. The Republican president, who has a strong following among white nationalists, has even called the far-right elements partaking in the demonstration as "very fine people."
Marine Commandant General Robert B. Neller tweeted Tuesday that there was "no place for racial hatred or extremism in the Marine Corps."
Admiral John Richardson, the Chief of Naval Operations, tweeted shortly after the Saturday that the incident was "shameful" and "unacceptable."
"The Navy will forever stand against intolerance and hatred" he wrote. "We want our Navy to be the safest possible place -- a team as strong and tough as we can be, saving violence only for our enemies."
Meanwhile, General David L. Goldfein, chief of staff of the US Air Force, tweeted Wednesday that he stood "together with my fellow service chiefs in saying that we're always stronger together."
The 82nd Airborne Division, whose paratroopers carried out missions across Europe against the Nazis, joined the movement by tweeting a picture of a man giving a Nazi salute, writing, "Respectfully, anyone who thinks this man represents our culture and values has never worn the maroon beret... and never will."
Interestingly, former Staff Sergeant Dillon Hopper, the alleged leader of the neo-Nazi group "Vanguard America," has served in the Marine Corps for 11 years.
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