President Trump comments on Charlottesville violence

Rescue personnel help injured people after a car ran into a large group of protesters after an white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va., Saturday, Aug. 12, 2017. The nationalists were holding the rally to protest plans by the city of Charlottesville to remove a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee. There were several hundred protesters marching in a long line when the car drove into a group of them. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

BEDMINISTER, N.J. (AP/CNN) — President Donald Trump said Saturday there was “no place” in the United States for the kind of violence that broke out at a white nationalist rally in Virginia and appealed to Americans to “come together as one.”

President Trump held a press conference Saturday to comment on the violence in Charlottesville, saying he condemns “this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides” in Virginia.

“What is vital now is a swift restoration of law and order and the protection of innocent lives.” He continued, before saying Americans must come together “with love for our nation … and true affection for each other.”

Disturbances that began Friday night during a march through the University of Virginia escalated Saturday with clashes between white nationalists and counter-protesters, leading the governor to declare a state of emergency and police to order people to disperse.

Trump, while on a working vacation at his New Jersey golf club, tweeted: “”We ALL must be united & condemn all that hate stands for.” He also said “there is no place for this kind of violence in America. Lets come together as one!”

The White House was silent for hours except for a tweet from first lady Melania Trump: “Our country encourages freedom of speech, but let’s communicate w/o hate in our hearts.”

The president was expected to address the situation later Saturday during a bill signing ceremony.

Charlottesville’s mayor, Michael Signer, blamed Trump for inflaming racial prejudices with his campaign last year.

“I’m not going to make any bones about it. I place the blame for a lot of what you’re seeing in American today right at the doorstep of the White House and the people around the president.”

House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., took to Twitter to denounce the scene.

“The views fueling the spectacle in Charlottesville are repugnant. Let it only serve to unite Americans against this kind of vile bigotry,” he said.