Arnold Schwarzenegger is putting his money where his mouth is after seeing coverage of the violence at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, Saturday.
In a statement posted on a note on his Facebook page Sunday, the former governor of California said he had been “horrified by the images of Nazis and white supremacists marching in Charlottesville and I was heartbroken that a domestic terrorist took an innocent life. My thoughts and prayers are with the families of Heather Heyer, Lt. Cullen, and Trooper-Pilot Bates.” He announced he would be donating $100,000 to an “anti-hate organization.”
Heather Heyer was killed after police said James Alex Fields Jr. drove into a crowd of counterprotesters at the rally.
Lt. H. Jay Cullen and Trooper-Pilot Burke M.M. Bates were killed in a helicopter crash Saturday while assisting with the incident in Charlottesville. The crash, which is under investigations, happened in a wooded area near a home. The two were the only fatalities.
“While these so-called ‘white nationalists’ are lucky to live in a country that defends their right to voice their awful, incorrect, hateful opinions, the rest of us must use our voices and resources to condemn hate and teach tolerance at every opportunity,” Schwarzenegger’s statement said.
“My message to them is simple: you will not win. Our voices are louder and stronger. There is no white America - there is only the United States of America. You were not born with these hateful views - you can change, grow, and evolve, and I suggest you start immediately.”
Schwarzenegger then said he would donate $100,000 to the Simon Wiesenthal Center, a Los Angeles non profit organzation
“I’m sending $100,000 to an anti-hate organization I've worked with for decades - the Simon Wiesenthal Center, named after the great Nazi hunter who I was lucky to call a friend.”
According to its website, the Simon Wiesenthal Center “confronts anti-Semitism, hate and terrorism, promotes human rights and dignity, stands with Israel, defends the safety of Jews worldwide, and teaches the lessons of the Holocaust for future generations.”
In a statement Monday, the Wiesenthal Center called on President Donald Trump to “specifically condemn the extreme alt-right and white nationalists who sow seeds of hate, distrust and violence. They and all other extremists, left or right, have no place in the mainstream of our nation.”
That same day, Trump denounced white supremacists, Nazis and KKK members in a prepared statement. It was two days after the violence in Charlottesville.
On Wednesday, he backtracked, returning to his initial statement Saturday in which he said “many sides” were to blame for the violence.
“I think there's blame on both sides. And I have no doubt about it,” he said at a news conference Wednesday.
That initial response drew criticism from Democrats and Republicans.
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