Romney, other Republicans rebuke Trump's Charlottesville walk-back

White nationalist leaders applauded President Trump for what they viewed as a defense of their actions in Charlottesville.

Former Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney (photo credit: REUTERS)
Former Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney took to Twitter to rebuke his president for equating right-wing extremist groups with those opposing them — or, as President Trump referred to them, the "alt-left."
"No, not the same," the former governor of Massachusetts wrote. "One side is racist, bigoted, Nazi. The other opposes racism and bigotry. Morally different universes."
Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, who ran against Trump in the Republican primaries, also responded in a series of tweets.
"The organizers of events which inspired and led to #charlottesvilleterroristattack are 100 percent to blame for a number of reasons," Rubio began.
"Mr. President, you can't allow #WhiteSupremacists to share only part of the blame. They support idea which cost nation and world so much pain … the #WhiteSupremacy groups will see being assigned only 50 percent of the blame as a win," he added.
"We all need to stand up against hate and violence," said Mitch McConnell, the highest-ranking Republican in the senate.
Trump backed away from his Monday statements explicitly denouncing the Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazis and white supremacists for the violence that erupted at a "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville, and reverted to his weekend contention that "many sides" were to blame.
"You had a group on one side that was bad," Trump said Tuesday. "And you had a group on the other side that was also very violent. And nobody wants to say that. But I'll say it right now."
Former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke and alt-right leader Richard Spencer applauded Trump on Twitter for his remarks.
Reuters contributed to this report.