13/08/2017 11:30 AM AEST

Hillary Clinton On Violence In Virginia: 'This Is Not Who We Are'

As violence escalated at a white supremacy rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, on Saturday, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called on leaders to speak out, take action and prove that “this is not who we are as Americans.”

White supremacists and armed militia faced off with counter-protesters on Saturday, attacking each other with flagpoles, bats and chemical sprays at the so-called “Unite the Right” rally.

Clinton said in a series of tweets that “incitement of hatred” was to blame for the chaos ― which turned deadly when a car plowed into a crowd of anti-racist protesters, killing a woman and injuring 19 people. 

“The incitement of hatred that got us here is as real and condemnable as the white supremacists in our streets,” Clinton wrote. 

“Every minute we allow this to persist through tacit encouragement or inaction is a disgrace, & corrosive to our values,” she added.

Without mentioning anyone specifically, Clinton called on “leaders” in the country to be “strong in their words” and “deliberate in their actions” while responding to Saturday’s rally.

She also challenged people to take a stand against the rally and the hatred that fueled it.

“We will not step backward,” Clinton tweeted. “If this is not who we are as Americans, let’s prove it.”

Clinton’s message was notably more pointed than President Donald Trump’s response to the violence, which didn’t acknowledge white supremacy or racism at all. In statements and tweets, Trump condemned hate, bigotry and violence but said that it was coming from “many sides.”

Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
White supremacists rush forward with shields and sticks during clashes with counter-protesters at Emancipation Park in Charlottesville, Virginia, on Saturday.