Pearce Tefft penned a letter to Fargo’s InfoForum, saying that he didn’t know how or when his son Peter became an "avowed white nationalist," and that his family could no longer remain silent after seeing Peter interviewed at Friday’s "Unite the Right Rally," where one person was killed and 19 injured after a right-winger allegedly plowed his car into a group of celebrating anti-racist activists.
"I have shared my home and hearth with friends and acquaintances of every race, gender and creed," Pearce wrote, "I have taught all of my children that all men and women are created equal. That we must love each other all the same."
A Twitter account called "Yes, you’re racist" outed Peter along with a number of others who took part in the rally, which brought together hundreds of members of far-right groups including white nationalists, neo-confederates, alt-right forces, "Western chauvinists" and other extremists, ostensibly to protest the city taking down the statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee.
Violence ensued as the torch-carrying right-wingers, some with weapons and makeshift shields, began beating leftist counter-protesters at the demonstration.
Tefft’s father said the rest of the family has experienced backlash because of Peter’s bigoted views. "His hateful opinions are bringing hateful rhetoric to his siblings, cousins, nieces and nephews as well as his parents. Why must we be guilty by association? Again, none of his beliefs were learned at home. We do not, never have, and never will, accept his twisted worldview."
He recalled Peter darkly joking, "The thing about us fascists is, it’s not that we don’t believe in freedom of speech. You can say whatever you want. We’ll just throw you in an oven."
Pearce’s response to this was, "Peter, you will have to shovel our bodies into the oven, too. Please son, renounce the hate, accept and love all."
Pearce added that Peter "is not welcome at our family gatherings any longer. I pray my prodigal son will renounce his hateful beliefs and return home. Then and only then will I lay out the feast."
US President Donald Trump faced criticism from both Democrats and Republicans for not condemning racism in Charlottesville, instead saying Friday that there was violence on "many sides," implying that counter-protesters were equally culpable in the melee.
Trump clarified his remarks Monday afternoon, telling reporters at the White House, "Racism is evil, and those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs, including KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and other hate groups are repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans."
"Those who spread violence in the name of bigotry strike at the very core of America," he said.
Before these comments, Trump still made it a point to take to Twitter and blast Ken Frazier, the African-American CEO of Merck Pharmaceuticals, who resigned from the president’s American Manufacturing Council Monday over Trump’s tepid response to the violence in Charlottesville.
"Now that Ken Frazier of Merck Pharma has resigned from President's Manufacturing Council, he will have more time to LOWER RIPOFF DRUG PRICES!" Trump wrote on Twitter.