Assemblymember Rob Bonta

East Bay Assemblymember Rob Bonta says President Donald Trump‘s comments last weekend asserting a moral equivalence between white supremacists marching in Charlottlesville and protesters marching in opposition were “irresponsibly and dangerously stated.” On two separate occasions, Trump suggested blame for the death of one counter-protester and injuries to 19 others last Saturday rested on “many sides.”

“This in not who we are,” wrote Bonta in a lengthy piece posted on social media Wednesday night and emailed to followers of his assembly campaign.

“The bully pulpit and the moral authority of the Office of the President matters. Trump has completely abdicated any such authority he may have once had,” Bonta wrote. “Rather than bring us together and help us heal and unite, he has fomented division and bigotry and given permission–even encouragement–to hate.”

Some of the same white supremacy groups that caused injuries and significant property damage during a march last April in Berkeley helped organize last weekend’s protest in Charlottesville. They intend to return to Berkeley and San Francisco on Aug. 27, according to some media reports.

Berekeley Mayor Jesse Arreguin said earlier this week that permit applications for such a march has not been received by the city.

But, in light of the Charlottesville tragedy, Bonta believes cities in the Bay Area should not approve permits for these types of events.

“These dangerous groups now feel emboldened and are planning many more rallies around the country, including here in our communities. While peaceful expression and association is a fundamental right, violence and doing physical harm to others is not,” wrote Bonta.

“With the backdrop and given the recent experience of Charlottesville, rally permits should not be issued to allow them to hold local gatherings where violence and hatred will be spread. Violence and terror is not free speech.”