WASHINGTON (CN) – Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley on Wednesday joined three of his colleagues on the Joint Chiefs of Staff in using social media to denounce racism, intolerance, and extremism in the wake of the deadly violence in Charlottesville, Virginia.
In a tweet Wednesday morning, Gen. Milley said, “The Army doesn’t tolerate racism, extremism or hatred in our ranks. It’s against our Values and everything we’ve stood for since 1775.”
While Milley was the fourth member of the Joint Chiefs to take a message of tolerance to Twitter or Facebook, the timing of his statement was noteworthy, coming a day after President Donald Trump re-embraced his argument that “both sides” deserve blame for violence that erupted in Charlottesville during an extraordinary press conference in Manhattan.
Saturday’s protest in Virginia drew hundreds of counterprotestors and turned deadly after 20-year-old James Alex Fields Jr. of Ohio allegedly plowed his car into a crowd, killing Heather Heyer, 32, and injuring scores of others.
Fields, who was photographed with white supremacists at the protest, has been charged with second-degree murder.
He reportedly did a four-month stint in the Army in 2015, but was released after he failed to pass basic training.
Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson was the first of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to speak out about the violence in the University of Virginia college town, calling the deadly event “shameful” in a Facebook post on Saturday.
“The shameful events in Charlottesville are unacceptable and must not be tolerated. Our thoughts and prayers go to those who were killed and injured, and to all those trying to bring peace back to the community,” Richardson wrote.
“The Navy will forever stand against intolerance and hatred. For those on our team, we want our Navy to be the safest possible place–a team as strong and tough as we can be, saving violence only for our enemies,” the post continued.
Chief of the National Guard Bureau Gen. Joseph Lengyel took to social media as well, saying in a tweet “pinned” to the top of his feed: “I stand with my fellow Joint Chiefs in condemning racism, extremism & hatred. Our diversity is our strength.”
And Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Robert Neller threw his voice into the mix early Tuesday, after Splinter reported that former Marine Corps recruiter Dillon Ulysses Hopper had been identified as the leader of the white supremacist group Vanguard America.
“No place for racial hatred or extremism in @USMC. Our core values of Honor, Courage, and Commitment frame the way Marines live and act,” Neller tweeted.
Fields was photographed alongside some members of Vanguard America on Saturday, though Hopper condemned Fields to Splinter and denied that Fields belonged to the group.