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charlottesville

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Although she didn't win the title of Miss America, Maragana Wood's comments about Donald Trump definitely stole the show.

Twitter users have praised the Miss Texas competitor after she condemned the US President for his less than adequate response to the Charlottesville violence.

During the question and answer section of the pageant, Maragana was asked about the white supremacist rally that took place last month.

The host referred specifically to the comments made by Trump in which he stated that there was shared blame with “very fine people on both sides.”

She was then asked is she agreed with the statement and to explain her answer.

“I think that the white supremacist issue – it was very obvious that it was a terrorist attack,” she said.

“I think that President Donald Trump should have made a statement earlier addressing the fact, and making sure that all Americans feel safe in this country. That is the number one issue right now.”

Her quick response was met with cheers from the audience and of course, social media erupted with support fo the Miss America contestent. 

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Heather Heyer, a 32-year-old woman who was killed while protesting a white supremacy rally in Charlottesville last month, became a tragic symbol of the increasing racial tension in the United States.

And as her family, friends and wider community struggle to come to terms with her death, high-profile figures have shared their thoughts on the violent demonstrations taking place in the US.

Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, Matt Damon admitted he was truly stunned by the level of racism exhibited by young people in the States, saying: "It’s so much worse than I naively thought.”

Reflecting on the images which circulated widely in the wake of Heather's death, Matt continued: "I just feel naïve at this point. It was shocking to see those kids — they looked 20 and 30 years old — in button-down shirts, with Tiki torches, walking down the street."

"Those people are a lot younger than me. Who raised them? Again, I naively thought that, behind our generation, another one was coming with more awareness and inclusiveness, and that everything was getting better with each generation," he continued.

Echoing the thoughts of millions who were left dumbstruck by the footage which emerged out of Charlottesville, Matt added: "And to see these young, aggrieved, white boys walking with their torches and screaming ‘Jews will not replace us!’ It was just shocking."

Unsurprisingly, the 46-year-old actor took the opportunity to deride President Trump's feeble response to the violence, saying: "Then the night that the President [made his] ‘many sides’ comment was absolutely abhorrent.”

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It may have taken him 48 hours, but Donald Trump has finally commented on the white nationalist rally which took place in Charlottesville, Virginia over the weekend. 

One protestor, Heather Heyer, lost her life in the violence after a car sped into the crowd. Up to 19 others were injured. 

The POTUS defended the white supremacists who rallied in protest of the removal of a statue of Robert E Lee, a confederate general. 

'Not all of those people were neo-Nazis, believe me, not all of those people were white supremacists,' he said in a press conference this morning. 

'You also had people that were very fine people on both sides' he said, when asked about the violence. 

He also criticised the 'alt-left' for participating in the rally, saying that they 'came violently attacking the other group.'

'What about the alt-left, that came charging at the, as you say, the alt-right? Do they have any semblance of guilt? What about the fact that they came charging with clubs in their hands, do they have any problem? I think they do.'

He also supported the cause of the protest of the white nationalists, saying: 'This week, it is Robert E. Lee and this week, Stonewall Jackson.'

'Is it George Washington next week and is it Thomas Jefferson the week after? You have to ask yourself, where does it stop?'

He referred to the journalists at the press conference as 'fake news' rather than addressing them individually. 

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The father of a white nationalist protestor has publicly disowned his son in an emotional open letter published on Monday.

Pearce Tefft's son, Peter, was among the group of far-right demonstrators who took to the streets of Charlottesville, Virgina, last weekend.

The rally quickly turned violent after the group clashed with counter-protestors, resulting in the death of one woman who was killed after a car ploughed into a crowd of people.

Pearce was prompted to write his statement after his youngest son was identified through a number of photos and interviews that appeared across social media.

In the letter, posted on inforum.com, he wrote:

“I, along with all of his siblings and his entire family, wish to loudly repudiate my son’s vile, hateful and racist rhetoric and actions. We do not know specifically where he learned these beliefs. He did not learn them at home.”

“I have taught all of my children that all men and women are created equal. That we must love each other all the same.”

“Evidently Peter has chosen to unlearn these lessons, much to my and his family’s heartbreak and distress. We have been silent up until now, but now we see that this was a mistake.”

The devastated father then went on to explain his decision to disown his son, saying he was no longer welcome at family gatherings.

“I pray my prodigal son will renounce his hateful beliefs and return home. Then and only then will I lay out the feast.”

“Why must we be guilty by association?,” he added.

Other members of Peter's extended family have publicly condemned his actions and have even asked him to change his name.

His nephew, Jacob Scott Weiber wrote on Facebook: “For anybody who is looking at my Facebook account because they found me through my nazi uncle, Peter Tefft, I would like it to be known that I have nothing to do with him, I utterly repudiate him, and I repudiate his vile nazi ideology.”

"Peter, if you are reading this, PLEASE CHANGE YOUR NAME IMMEDIATELY.”

You can read Pearce Tefft's letter in full here.

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Hundreds of far-right demonstrators descended onto the streets of the university town of Charlottesville, Virgina, this weekend to protest against a plan to remove a statue of Robert E. Lee, head of the Confederate army in the American Civil War.

The white nationalists marched through the town holding lit torches before violence broke out after the group clashed with counter-protestors.

One woman died and more than a dozen have been injured after a car ploughed into a crowd of people protesting the white supremacist rally.

As Virgina governor, Terry McAuliffe declared a state of emergency on Saturday, many celebrities and political figures took to Twitter to condemn the ongoing violence and criticise the president's silence on the issue.

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