MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Civil rights leader Rev. Jesse Jackson held a press conference Sunday at the historic Mt. Pisgah CME Church in Orange Mound, denouncing the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, and calling on President Donald Trump to take a firm stand.
Rev. Jackson places some of the blame for the atmosphere of hate on Mr. Trump.
"This is a very sensitive time for our country," Rev. Jackson said.
He insists tension created by the current political climate lead to the racially charged violence.
"The ban on Muslims, the ban on refugees, the ban on immigrants," he said.
But President Trump is blaming "many sides" for the violent clashes between protesters and white supremacists, and he at first refused to publicly name and condemn any specific hate groups. Sunday afternoon, the White House said he condemns hate groups such as “white supremacists, KKK and neo-Nazis.”
"He can’t call out the Ku Klux Klan and the confederates and the neo-Nazis," Rev. Jackson said, before the White House's statement. "They are his supporters."
It's something Rev. Jackson calls "a betrayal."
"Neutrality in a time of crisis is cowardly," he said. "His silence on them gives them confidence that they have the right to do what they’re doing. It’s not good for America."
Community activists sat alongside Rev. Jackson at Sunday's press conference, pleading for an end to the hate.
"What we’re seeing is pervasive, and what we’re asking for is love to conquer," said Joseph Kyles of the Memphis Rainbow PUSH Coalition.
Saturday’s rally was sparked by white nationalists protesting the city’s decision to remove a confederate statue from a public park.
"They lost and their monuments should be vanquished," Rev. Jackson said. "We should have one America under one flag."
Rev. Jackson is also calling for the White House to hold a press conference on violence caused by racial hatred and possible solutions.