Following a fatal vehicular attack on Aug. 12 by a white supremacist in Charlottesville, Virginia, Gov. Terry McAuliffe condemned the perpetrators of the violence.
"I have a message to all the white supremacists and the Nazis who came into Charlottesville today," began McAuliffe. "Our message is plain and simple: 'Go home ... There is no place for you here, there is no place for you in America,'" a stricken-looking McAuliffe said on national television.
Some, including political scientist Stephen Farnsworth, speculated that the governor's words could affect the discussion of race in upcoming elections.
"I think that one of the positive messages the governor put forward was this idea that people's energies are better spent building better communities than dividing them," said Farnsworth, according to the Washington Post.
"It may very well be a message that voters are ready to hear in 2018 and 2020," Farnsworth continued. "Further, it's a powerful contrast to the consistently divisive approach that President Trump employed ... It was in a moment when there was an awful lot of negative commentary being discussed. The governor offered a positive suggestion, one that may not have been taken by the participants but one that speaks to a better America."
GOP Rep. Louie Gohmert, on the other hand, predicted that McAuliffe may have made race relations worse by commenting on the situation as he did.
"There is a strategy to make race the number one issue in 2018 and 2020," said Gohmert, according to PJ Media. "They think it's their ticket back. But this is going to blow up in their face. We need an investigation as to what happened at Charlottesville. Who paid for the different groups to come in? Who ordered the funneling of those groups together? Who ordered the standby while the violence goes on?"
The comments come amid an announcement by white supremacist and Holocaust denier Augustus Sol Invictus that he will run for a Senate seat as a Republican, according to ThinkProgress.
"If there is any legal way to prevent a racist from appearing on the ballot, then they should absolutely use all legal means to prevent it," said longtime GOP operative Mark Corallo. "And if the party rules need to be changed to prevent racists, neo-Nazis, and other vile human beings of that ilk from appearing on the ballot then they should be changed immediately."
"Furthermore," Corello continued, "[the Republican Party] should make it clear that anyone who identifies himself as a Republican and hold those vile racist views is not a Republican and will not only be deprived of support but will be condemned in the harshest terms by the Republican Party."