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Charlottesville questions continue to trail elected officials in Florida

By Alex Leary

Elected officials continue to face questions over race and violence following the events in Charlottesville and Florida Rep. Brian Mast became the latest to echo President Trump's "both sides" argument.

"There were multiple people from multiple sides that came out there with the intent of clashing with one another. That’s just the fact," the freshman Republican said during a town hall last week in Port St. Lucie.

Challenged by a woman in the audience, Mast said of Trump: "Our president is not a racist."

"Sit down, go home!" a man in the audience shouted at the woman and the forum came to an end.

She began by saying there are no two sides. "There are the Nazis and the KKK and there’s the rest of the people that were standing up against them."

Mast interjected, "Ma’am, were there two groups that came out there with the intent on violence?"

Meanwhile, in Jacksonville, Mayor Lenny Curry has drawn notice for ducking a debate about Confederate monuments. From the Times-Union, which notes Curry denounced white supremacists:

As a candidate for mayor — running against an incumbent whom some civic leaders considered too often paralyzed by indecision — Lenny Curry vowed he would use the bully pulpit to lead community conversations about discrimination in Jacksonville and play a key role in coming up with solutions.

But Curry has repeatedly refused to say whether he supports removing Confederate monuments from prominent public spaces, eschewing his strong-mayor persona amid a charged local debate that is entwined with Jacksonville’s unflattering history with racism and segregation.