North Texas congressional reps react to Virginia violence, Trump's comments

Texas lawmakers were asked Wednesday about the president's wavering reactions to the weekend's violent clashes in Virginia.

President Trump doubled down Tuesday on blaming both sides for the violence that left one counter-protestor dead during white supremacist protests of the planned removal of a Robert E. Lee statue.

Four members of the Texas congressional delegation, two Democrats and two Republicans, were asked about the violence and Trump at the Dallas Regional Chamber Congressional Forum.

“I’m never gonna defend somebody who says because I’m white, I’m better. That’s bulls**t,” said U.S. Rep. Joe Barton/R-Ennis. “I shouldn’t say that word, but it is a Texas term.”

Barton was not directly critical of President Trump, whom he called his friend. Other some lawmakers, including some Republicans, have been vocal about their displeasure with Trump’s response.

“I thought that pundits on both sides on Monday applauded his remarks and thought that he did get away from what he said on Saturday,” said U.S. Rep. Marc Veasey/D-Fort Worth. “Then he doubled down again yesterday and really what he said was worse, I thought, than what he said on Saturday.”

Time ran out before Reps. Pete Sessions and Eddie Bernice Johnson could answer the same question. Johnson was asked earlier in the Q&A if the president's style and social media use has changed the atmosphere in Washington.

“Well let me say that I have served with three presidents all eight years,” Johnson said. “This is the most extreme and the most uncertain leadership that I have experienced.”

Sessions stuck around after the Q&A to say Americans need to have discussions about a nation divided by race.

“Sometimes holding those discussions are very difficult. I think any comment that is related to not addressing what should not be permissible, that’s where we should start. You cannot start with a Nazi flag you, cannot start with racism or bigotry and that should not be part of the discussion and somehow it was allowed and it should not have been there,” Sessions said.

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