Gov. Abbott Condemns Racism, Senator Ted Cruz Calls for Domestic Terrorism Investigation, Lawmakers Weigh in on Charlottesville

Amid tension over the removal of a Robert E. Lee statue in Emancipation Park of Charlottesville, Virginia, violence broke out between white nationalists and counter-protesters.

The white nationalists held a "Unite the Right" rally, under the leadership of Jason Kessler, which began Friday night. The continued protests faced opposition from counter-protesters, who identified as many separate groups, including local clergy, Black Lives Matter and 'Antifa' - short for Anti-Fascists. 

The opposing groups were operating in an overcrowded setting and the incident became violent. The governor of Virginia, Terry McAuliffe, declared a state of emergency, asking all parties to return home in peace.

Shortly after, a gray car was seen driving into a crowd of counter-protesters. One woman has reportedly died; dozens of injuries have been reported; and police believe they have apprehended the suspect of the alleged hit-and-run, all from the car incident and other violent outbreaks. Two Virginia State Police Officers also died in a helicopter crash, surveying the area.

Local politicians and many people from around the nation have begun to condemn what many consider to be the "bigotry" and "violence" that fueled these events.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott sent out a tweet Saturday evening saying "The racist & hateful violence in Charlottesville is un-American." And he stressed the unity it will take to overcome it.

Republican Congressional Representative Pete Sessions of the Texas' 32nd Congressional District, which represents areas around - including part of - Northeast Dallas, tweeted condemnation of what he found unacceptable. "Racist white supremacist actions," said Representative Sessions, "are completely horrendous."

Republican Senator Ted Cruz took to Facebook to voice his disappointment with the situation. Senator Cruz expressed that he was "saddened.. by the hate on display." He added: "Americans must stand united in opposing those who aim to divide us through hatred and bigotry."

Senator Cruz followed that up with a later Facebook post urging the Justice Department to begin an investigation into possible domestic terrorism, adding: "The Nazis, the KKK, and white supremacists are repulsive and evil."

Democratic Congressional Representative Beto O'Rourke, who is also running for the United States Senate seat held by Ted Cruz, let off a multi-tweet tirade over the state of the nation. Representative O'Rourke urged Americans to remain better than "racism, intolerance & hatred." 

Mr. O'Rourke added that he thinks it is sad - but a reminder of a need to fight for equality - that we still need marches for science, as well as gender and racial equity.

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