Four members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, representing the highest posts in their respective branches of the U.S. military, have come out to directly condemn white nationalists since violence erupted over the weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia.
The most recent member of the Joint Chiefs to express outrage and condemnation of white supremacist groups, Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley, expressed his dismay publicly through his Twitter account, writing that the U.S. Army “doesn’t tolerate racism, extremism, or hatred in our ranks.”
The Army doesn’t tolerate racism, extremism, or hatred in our ranks. It’s against our Values and everything we’ve stood for since 1775.
— GEN Mark A. Milley (@ArmyChiefStaff) August 16, 2017
Other members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff similarly expressed their outrage, the Hill reports. Gen. Robert Neller, who represents the Marines, wrote on his Twitter account, “Our core values of Honor, Courage, and Commitment frame the way Marines live and act,” and “that racial hatred or extremism” has “no place” in the Marine Corps.
No place for racial hatred or extremism in @USMC. Our core values of Honor, Courage, and Commitment frame the way Marines live and act.
— Robert B. Neller (@GenRobertNeller) August 15, 2017
Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein also expressed his frustrations with the events from over the weekend. Although his commentary was more general, it was seen as a repudiation by many of the violence that took place.
I stand with my fellow service chiefs in saying we’re always stronger together-it’s who we are as #Airmen pic.twitter.com/9XxOry93nf
— Gen. Dave Goldfein (@GenDaveGoldfein) August 16, 2017
Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson also wrote on Saturday, just shortly after the events transpired, his disgust with what had went down. “Events in Charlottesvile [are] unacceptable and mustn’t be tolerated,” he wrote.
Events in Charlottesville unacceptable & musnt be tolerated @USNavy forever stands against intolerance & hatred…https://t.co/tg0cETibaq
— Adm. John Richardson (@CNORichardson) August 13, 2017
These comments came from President Donald Trump’s top military officials. It’s somewhat telling that their words were much stronger than what the president said initially, when he condemned violence “on many sides” on Saturday evening.
Trump attempted to alleviate criticism of those comments by singling out the KKK and white nationalists on Monday, but seemed to walk back those comments by suggesting that both sides, again, were to blame.
“You look at both sides — I think there’s blame on both sides and I have no doubt about it, and you dont have any doubt about it either,” he said, suggesting that fascists, neo-Nazis and other supremacists were somehow equal to those who oppose the tenets of those groups.