President Trump on Saturday called for unity, about a year after the deadly violence in Charlottesville, Virginia.
“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. Peace to ALL Americans!” Trump tweeted.
Last year, Trump had faced backlash for his comments blaming “both sides” for the Charlottesville violence, which claimed the life of 32-year-old Heather Heyer, after a man drove into a crowd of counter-protesters at a white nationalist rally on August 12.
Among those who criticized Trump’s remarks was Sen. Lindsey Graham, who said in a statement, “President Trump took a step backward by again suggesting there is moral equivalency between the white supremacist neo-Nazis and KKK members who attended the Charlottesville rally and people like Ms. Heyer. I, along with many others, do not endorse this moral equivalency.”
The senator was referring to statements Trump made during a combative press conference.
“I’ve condemned neo-Nazis. I’ve condemned many different groups, but not all of those people were neo-Nazis, believe me,” Trump told reporters. “Not all of those people were white supremacists, by any stretch.”
The president then went on to blame “both sides” for the violence, including the counterprotesters.
“You had a group on one side and you had a group on the other and they came at each other,” Trump said. “I think there’s blame on both sides and I have no doubt about it and you don’t have any doubt about it either.”