Washington: US President Donald Trump signed a resolution that condemns last month’s deadly violence staged by white supremacists in Charlottesville, in the US state of Virginia, the White House said.
The resolution, passed earlier this week by Congress after being sponsored by Democratic Virginia senators Tim Kaine and Mark Warner, condemned the events in Charlottesville as a “domestic terror attack” and “white nationalists, white supremacists, the Ku Klux Klan (KKK), neo-Nazis and other hate groups”, Xinhua news agency reported.
While urging Trump to “speak out against the hate groups that espouse racism, extremism, xenophobia, anti-Semitism, and White supremacy,” the resolution also honored an anti-racism protester, who was killed after a neo-Nazi sympathizer intentionally drove a car into a crowd on August 12 in downtown Charlottesville, a historic college town.
Before turning into violent clashes with anti-demonstrators which led to dozens of injuries, white supremacists, neo-Nazis and the KKK took to the streets in Charlottesville to protest the city’s decision to remove a statue of Robert E. Lee, a general who had fought for the pro-slavery Confederacy during the US Civil War.
Trump first condemned the violence “on many sides” and drew bipartisan criticism. But the president repeated his controversial position after meeting with South Carolina Senator Tim Scott, the lone African-American Senate Republican who publicly criticized Trump’s rhetoric.
“I think especially in light of the advent of Antifa, if you look at what’s going on there, you know, you have some pretty bad dudes on the other side,” Trump told reporters on Air Force One.
Antifa is an anti-fascist protest movement that sometimes resorts to violent measures to fight neo-Nazis and white supremacists, which has attracted a lot of attention in the wake of the Charlottesville violence.
“Now because of what’s happened since then with Antifa, you look at really what’s happened since Charlottesville, a lot of people are saying and people have actually written, ‘Gee, Trump might have a point,'” Trump said. “I said, ‘you’ve got some very bad people on the other side also,’ which is true.”
In a White House statement issued Thursday, Trump said he opposed bigotry in all forms and was “pleased” to sign the resolution.