Trump marks Charlottesville anniversary with tweet condemning racism
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Trump marks Charlottesville anniversary with tweet condemning racism

US president says last year’s rally ‘resulted in senseless death and division,’ calls for ‘peace to ALL Americans!”

Eric Cortellessa covers American politics for The Times of Israel.

US President Donald Trump speaks about his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin ahead of a meeting with Republican lawmakers and cabinet members on tax cuts at the White House in Washington, DC, on July 17, 2018. (AFP PHOTO / NICHOLAS KAMM)
US President Donald Trump speaks about his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin ahead of a meeting with Republican lawmakers and cabinet members on tax cuts at the White House in Washington, DC, on July 17, 2018. (AFP PHOTO / NICHOLAS KAMM)

WASHINGTON — One year after the deadly white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, US President Donald Trump tweeted a condemnation of racism Saturday, calling for unity and “peace to ALL Americans.”

His tweet came a day before those same factions plan to march in Washington, D.C., where they are set to meet in the Foggy Bottom neighborhood and march to Lafayette Square, across the street from the White House.

“The riots in Charlottesville a year ago resulted in senseless death and division,” Trump said Saturday.

“We must come together as a nation. I condemn all types of racism and acts of violence. Peace to ALL Americans!”

The tweet’s language was similar to his first response to the tragedy last year, after neo-Nazis, Klansman, and other racists descended on the small Virginia, which resulted in one woman’s death after a Nazi sympathizer rammed his car into a crowd of people.

Those initial remarks last year came after Heather Heyer, a 32-year-old legal assistant, was struck and killed, in which he omitted any mention of the bigoted hate groups leading the rally.

In this August 12, 2017, file photo, people fly into the air as a vehicle is driven into a group of protesters demonstrating against a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, United States. (Ryan M. Kelly/The Daily Progress via AP, File)

But in a follow-up press conference days later, Trump held both sides responsible for the violence and equivocated the white nationalists chanting “Jews will not replace us” with the counter-protesters.

“You had some very bad people in that group, but you also had people that were very fine people, on both sides,” he said in Trump Tower.

Those comments were met with swift criticism from across the political spectrum.

On Friday, Trump was denounced for not marking the anniversary of the Charlottesville tragedy but instead tweeting about National Football League players who refuse to stand for the national anthem, inflaming a racially divisive issue. The players say they kneel during the anthem to draw attention to racial injustices.

“They make a fortune doing what they love,” Trump tweeted. “Be happy, be cool! A football game, that fans are paying soooo much money to watch and enjoy, is no place to protest. Most of that money goes to the players anyway. Find another way to protest. Stand proudly for your National Anthem or be Suspended Without Pay!”

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