The Rev. William Barber, the president of the North Carolina chapter of the NAACP, responded Tuesday to comments by President Donald Trump that there was “blame on both sides” of the protests that turned violent in Charlottesville, Va., over the weekend.
Barber was among religious leaders to call out white supremacy and policy-driven racism at a rally held at the University of New Mexico, the Albuquerque Journal reported.
“Today, our president … was justifying white supremacy,” Barber was quoted by the Journal.
Barber went on to say people who endorse Trump share blame for his actions.
“To say you are against white supremacy without standing against the rhetoric that emboldens white supremacists and the policies they endorse reeks of a terrible ignorance or deliberate hypocrisy,” Barber said, per the Journal.
Barber also urged politicians to make clear their positions on white supremacists, KOAT in Albuquerque reported.
Barber’s speech preceded a peaceful march through the UNM campus condemning the violent acts in Charlottesville, the station reported.
The stop in Albuquerque was part of Barber’s tour across the country to promote “a moral agenda.”
Barber issued a statement earlier Tuesday that outlined much of his speech.
He said after the events in Charlottesville, where one person was killed and 19 were injured when a man drove a vehicle into a crowd, the “nation is presented with a clear fork in the road.”
“We must make a moral choice,” Barber said. “We can take the righteous road of repair ... or we can, as we did half a century ago, follow those who would lead our nation down the road of denial and retreat.