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Former Oklahoma Congressman Criticizes Trump, Republicans for Charlottesville Response


Former Oklahoma Republican U.S. Rep. J.C. Watts says a Nazi rally in Charlottesville was a "right now moment" for President Trump, and neither Trump nor congressional Republicans handled it correctly.

"When circumstance like last weekend happen, I think we need moral clarity," Watts said Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press." "A president speaks for himself, for his values in those 'right now moments,' and he speaks for the values of our country."

Watts said the responses suggest to the rest of the world the U.S. sides with white supremacists.

Trump has vacillated between saying violence on both sides is a problem and blaming white supremacy groups, and is now sticking to the former position.

Watts called for more Republicans to speak out.

"Over the last seven months, there's been ample opportunity to disagree with the president on many issues, and, you know, this is not a time for us to be afraid of being tweeted," Watts said. "This is not a time for us to suppress our convictions."

Watts told host Chuck Todd he did respect members of Trump’s business council who condemned Trump’s remarks and resigned.

"We had someone from the president's faith council that resigned, Rev. [A.R.] Bernard, out of New York," Watts said. "I'm quite disappointed, Chuck, that we didn't have more on the faith council to resign or at least speak out."

Watts represented Oklahoma’s fourth district in the U.S. House from 1995 to 2003.