Congresswoman Maxine Waters criticized President Donald Trump for taking days to specifically call out hate groups and their racist ideologies following a deadly rally in Virginia this weekend, and said on Monday that the sentiment in his latest remarks were "not in his heart."
Waters, a California Democrat known for being a vocal critic of the president, said that given Trump's controversial history as a presidential candidate, she was not surprised that Trump did not initially come out more forcefully against white nationalists and their sympathizers.
"I've always known that he was dog-whistling to a certain element in our society, so I was not surprised at all that he did not condemn the white supremacists — or any of those, the KKK — when he made his first statement," she said Monday evening on MSNBC's "The Beat with Ari Melber."
Earlier Monday, Trump said in prepared remarks that hate groups like the Ku Klux Klan and others were "repugnant" and that "racism was evil," two days after the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, where a driver slammed a car into a crowd of counter-protesters, killing one and injuring 19 others.
Waters said she believed Trump bowed to pressure from his advisers after facing criticism from both political parties for his initial statement on Saturday, where he condemned the violence displayed on "many sides" and failed to denounce white nationalists.
"So, they convinced him to come out, but it's not in his heart. It's not in his heart and you could see that," she said.
Waters added that if Trump should have initially come out without prepared remarks and denounced such groups explicitly.
"It would have been easy for him to do, but he didn't do it because it's not in his heart," she said.
Waters strongly rebuked the president, calling Trump a "dishonorable human being who does not deserve to be president of the United States of America."
White House aides came to Trump's defense following his Saturday remarks, with Vice President Mike Pence initially pinning blame on the media for not focusing more on the violence.
And on Sunday, the White House had put out a statement further clarifying Trump's comments, saying: "The President said very strongly in his statement yesterday that he condemns all forms of violence, bigotry and hatred and of course that includes white Supremacists, KKK, neo-Nazi and all extremist groups. He called for national unity and bringing all Americans together."