Both U.S. senators from Illinois are criticizing remarks by McLean County Republican Party Chairman Chuck Erickson.
Democrats Tammy Duckworth and Dick Durbin were both in Bloomington-Normal on Wednesday during the August recess of Congress.
Erickson posted on Facebook that President Trump's argument that many sides are responsible for the violence in Charlottesville during a neo-Nazi alt-right gathering. That post went viral, and many McLean County Republicans have distanced themselves from it.
Speaking to reporters at the Illinois Farm Bureau, Duckworth was firm.
"If you stand with Nazis and you stand with with racists then you are not a fine person. Then you are not a patriot and you are not a person who truly loves this country, because it goes against the very values that founded our nation," said Duckworth.
Duckworth said she rejects racism and white nationalism.
She said the equivalency argument is an attempt by fascists and Nazis to muddy the waters, to take away their responsibility for what happened in Charlottesville.
Meanwhile, at Chestnut Health Systems in Bloomington, Durbin said he rejects the attempt to say far left and alt-right activists are equivalent. The Illinois Democrat was responding to a reporter's question about Erickson's Facebook defense of Trump's remarks.
"I don't know Mr. Erickson. I may have met him along the way, but I just don't know him personally and I haven't heard his explanation. But what I saw in print was troubling. You can't split the difference when it comes to bigotry and hatred. You can't find a way to maybe make David Duke think you're OK and appeal to the mainstream in America," said Durbin.
Durbin also said he is heartened that so many McLean County Republicans have disavowed Erickson's and the president's position.
WGLT depends on financial support from users to bring you stories and interviews like this one. As someone who values experienced, knowledgeable, and award-winning journalists covering meaningful stories in central Illinois, please consider making a contribution.