On Tuesday, they had to do it all over again.
House Speaker Paul Ryan declared in a tweet that "white supremacy is repulsive."
The Wisconsin Republican has sought to keep the GOP caucus on Capitol Hill focused on legislative priorities. His Twitter account is full of messages about the need to overhaul the U.S. tax code.
But Trump has shifted the public's attention away from the Republican agenda with his renewed declaration Tuesday..
"We must be clear," Ryan tweeted. "White supremacy is repulsive. This bigotry is counter to all this country stands for. There can be no moral ambiguity."
“Good time to re-up,” wrote Sen. Marco Rubio, retweeting his Saturday message, which read: “Very important for the nation to hear @potus describe events in #Charlottesville for what they are, a terror attack by #whitesupremacists.”
Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., simply pressed retweet on his Saturday tweet: “Racism, hatred, and violence as a means to an end is unacceptable and shameful. There’s no room for it in this country. #Charlottesville.”
And Sen. Orrin Hatch re-upped his comments from Saturday when he wrote, “We should call evil by its name. My brother didn’t give his life fighting Hitler for Nazi ideas to go unchallenged here at home.”
Trump endured days of criticism after he failed to criticize the neo-Nazis and white supremacists who descended on the college town over the weekend in a rally that erupted in violence, leaving one counter-protester dead and a score of others injured.
Trump reversed course Monday in a carefully choreographed statement disavowing the KKK and other groups. But Tuesday, he snapped back to his earlier form during unscripted remarks at a news conference in Trump Tower.
Democrats were quicker and louder in their criticism than Republicans, who have labored to figure out how best to handle — or ignore — Trump.
“This is sick,” wrote Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass. “The President of the United States just defended neo-Nazis and blamed those who condemn their racism and hate.”
Wrote Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii: “As a Jew, as an American, as a human, words cannot express my disgust and disappointment. This is not my President.”
“Charlottesville violence was fueled by one side: white supremacists spreading racism, intolerance & intimidation,” tweeted Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va. “Those are the facts.”
Many Republican lawmakers remain reluctant to criticize the president because they have been elected from states and congressional districts where Trump remains popular.
Over the weekend, though, Trump’s failure to take on the neo-Nazi was too much for many Republicans, and Tuesday’s repeat seemed to cross a line for some.
Josh Holmes, a top former aide to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell who remains close to Senate Republicans, established a clear marker with a quick, critical reaction to Trump’s reversal.
“The president just erased yesterday’s speech and is now back to Saturday’s position on Charlottesville. Unbelievable,” he wrote.
“The President did everything he could today to defend and deflect criticism from the Alt-right white supremacist movement. It’s a disgrace,” tweeted Evan McMullin, who ran for president as an independent in last year’s election.
Some Republicans feel free to speak their minds.
Rep. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., who is retiring after this term, tweeted: “Blaming “both sides” for #Charlottesville?! No. Back to relativism when dealing with KKK, Nazi sympathizers, white supremacists? Just no.”
Others simply focused elsewhere.
The press event Tuesday had been intended to showcase Trump’s efforts to rebuild the nation’s infrastructure.
Oklahoma Sen. Jim Inhofe stuck with that message.
“I look forward to continuing to work with the president to remove barriers to improving our nation’s infrastructure,” Inhofe tweeted.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.