President Donald Trump said Saturday that he “condemns all types of racism,” The Hill reports. The president’s Twitter comments come ahead of the Charlottesville rally anniversarry.
“The riots in Charlottesville a year ago resulted in senseless death and division. We must come together as a nation. I condemn all types of racism and acts of violence,” the POTUS tweeted, concluding that he wishes “peace to all Americans.”
Trump’s response to the white supremacist rally was subjected to tremendous criticism. As the Atlantic reported, speaking in the lobby of Trump Tower at what had been billed as a statement on infrastructure, Donald Trump defendend his reluctance to condemn white naitonalists and neo-Nazis.
“Not all of those people were neo-Nazis,” the president said at the time, concluding that that counter-protesters deserve an equal amount of blame for the violence which ended in the death of one woman and injuries to dozens of others.
“What about the alt-left that came charging at, as you say, at the alt-right? Do they have any semblance of guilt? I’ve condemned neo-Nazis. I’ve condemned many different groups. But not all of those people were neo-Nazis, believe me. You had many people in that group other than neo-Nazis and white nationalists. The press has treated them absolutely unfairly.”
The president has gone back and forth, refusing to explicitly denounce white nationalist and neo-Nazi groups, and the Trump administration’s stance towards race has been a subject of debate ever since Donald Trump took office in 2016. Many key members of the Trump administration, Steve Bannon and Stephen Miller for instance, have been widely criticized for their white nationalist views.
Buzzfeed credited Bannon with “smuggling white nationalism into the mainstream,” via Breitbart News, and the Center for Investigative Reporting’s Reveal published an extensive report, detailing Stephen Miller’s ties to white nationalism, which reportedly date back to White House senior policy adviser’s college days.
More recently, as the Inquisitr reported, Fox News host Laura Ingraham parroted Donald Trump’s immigration rhethoric, during the opening to her primetime show The Ingraham Angle. Ingraham’s speech was described as racist, and former Ku Klux Klan leader, David Duke, expressed support for the host, praising her comments.
As CNN noted, white nationalists and other far-right groups will gather in Washington D.C. on Sunday. Jason Kessler, the man who organized last year’s “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, is organizing the D.C. event.
Heidi Beirich, director of the Intelligence Project at the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate groups and extremists, told CNN that white nationalists feel “validated” by Donald Trump’s controversial comments about Muslims and Mexicans, and thanks to the president, far-right groups now feel like a part of the political system, which has never been the case before.