Senator Al Franken visited “Conan” on Monday and discussed the recent violence in Charlottesville, but also the president’s “horrible” response.
When host Conan O’Brien asked Franken to talk about Charlottesville, he spoke for a couple minutes about the protests — which started because white supremacists didn’t want the city to take down a statue of Confederacy leader Robert E. Lee, and ended with death and injuries.
“We have to remember that what that statue is about is slavery. That’s what the Confederacy is about,” Franken said.
He continued: “President Trump, instead of condemning the white supremacists, just went out and said ‘I condemn all violence from everybody.’ I thought that was horrible. It was very him.”
Franken acknowledged that what Trump said Monday, when he finally criticized neo-Nazis and white supremacists by name, was fine if it had come sooner.
“Unfortunately, I don’t know why on that first day he did not condemn what they did and I fear that he thinks this is part of his base or something,” he said, adding that presidents in the past — both Democrat and Republican — have condemned similar acts of violence.
“George W. Bush after 9/11 made sure that he said that we don’t have a problem with Islam,” said the senator, adding of Trump, “I have trouble with this president.”
Franken, a Democrat from Minnesota and former “Saturday Night Live” writer and cast member, has been cautious about Trump since his campaign. He previously visited O’Brien’s show in August of last year, where he said that it was the “most terrifying election of our lifetime” and that Trump said things that made it seem like “he wasn’t suited” to hold the position.
Franken, however, said he was proud of many of his Republican colleagues who spoke out against the violence.
Watch the full clip above.