NEW YORK (FOX5NY) - Calling the KKK, neo-Nazis and white supremacists "criminals and thugs," President Donald Trump announced Monday the opening of a civil rights investigation by the Department of Justice into the deadly protest in Charlottesville, Virginia, on Saturday.
"Racism is evil. And those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs, including the KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and other hate groups that are repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans," Trump said. "We are equal in the eyes of our Creator. We are equal under the law. And we are equal under our Constitution. Those who spread violence in the name of bigotry strike at the very core of America."
Trump made the announcement during a one-day stop at the White House. The historic building is undergoing major renovations. Trump is spending time at his Beminster, New Jersey, golf course and at Trump Tower in New York City while work is completed.
"To anyone who acted criminally during this weekend's racist violence, you will be held fully accountable. Justice will be delivered. As I said on Saturday, we condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry, and violence. It has no place in America," Trump said.
One person was killed and 20 were injured when the driver of a Dodge Charger plowed into a group of people who were rallying against the protest organizers who were angry over plans to remove the statue of Confederate hero Robert E. Lee on the University of Virginia campus.
Trump mentioned by name Heather Heyer, the woman killed in the car attack, and Jay Cullen and Burke Bates, the state troopers killed in a helicopter crash near the protests.
"Her death fills us with grief, and we send her family our thoughts, our prayers, and our love," Trump said. "We also mourn the two Virginia state troopers who died in service to their community, their commonwealth, and their country."