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Hogan: Trump 'made a terrible mistake' in Charlottesville comments

Gov. Larry Hogan criticized President Donald J. Trump’s comments on the conflict between white supremacists and counter-protesters in Charlottesville, Va., when the president blamed both sides for the violence.

“I think he made a terrible mistake,” Hogan told reporters in Annapolis after a Board of Public Works meeting Wednesday.

Hogan, a Republican governor in a state where the party is outnumbered by Democrats 2 to 1, has been judicious in his criticism of the Republican president. But in recent months he has publicly disagreed with Trump on occasion.

During the public works meeting, Hogan reiterated his concern about the events that unfolded in Virginia over the weekend. A rally by Neo-Nazis, the Ku Klux Klan and other white supremacists drew counter-protesters. One counter-protester was killed when a Neo-Nazi sympathizer drove a car into a crowd; two state police officers monitoring the scene died when their helicopter crashed.

“We will continue to confront and condemn hatred, bigotry and violence,” Hogan said.

He said he called Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe over the weekend to offer the state’s “full support.”

Trump, asked about Charlottesville at a news conference on Tuesday, said “You had a group on one side that was bad and you had a group on the other side that was also very violent.”

"No one wants to say that, but I'll say it right now: You had a group on the other side that came charging in without a permit and they were very, very violent," he said.

He also said there were “very fine people on both sides.”

The comments have drawn condemnation from Democrats and some Republicans.

The Maryland State House Trust voted Wednesday to remove a 145-year-old statue of Chief Justice Roger B. Taney from the grounds of the State House. Taney wrote the 1857 Dred Scott decision, which upheld slavery and declared that black Americans could not become citizens.

Hogan had expressed support Tuesday for removing the statue.

Hogan's Democratic colleagues on the Board of Public Works, Treasurer Nancy Kopp and Comptroller Peter Franchot, cheered the governor’s decision on the Taney statue.

pwood@baltsun.com

twitter.com/pwoodreporter

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