Leading figures in Donald Trump’s Republican party have reacted angrily to his latest comments blaming both sides for the violent clashes in Charlottesville, Virginia, on Saturday.
They culminated with a person being killed and many injured when a car hit people opposed to a far-right rally.
Many echoed House Speaker Paul Ryan who said: “White supremacy is repulsive.. There can be no moral ambiguity.”
Mr Trump had condemned white supremacist groups on Monday.
But on Tuesday he reverted to his initial reaction.
The right-wing march had been organised to protest against the proposed removal of a statue of Gen Robert E Lee, who commanded the pro-slavery Confederate forces during the American Civil War. The event drew white supremacy groups.
Violence broke out after they were confronted by anti-fascism groups. A BBC correspondent at the scene described how members of the so-called “alt-right” openly carried rifles and were dressed in full tactical gear. Their leftist rivals threw bottles, rocks and paint. Pepper spray was used by both sides.
“I think there is blame on both sides,” Mr Trump told reporters at a tense press conference at Trump Tower in New York.
“You had a group on one side that was bad. You had a group on the other side that was also very violent. Nobody wants to say that. I’ll say it right now.”
“What about the alt-left that came charging… at the, as you say, the alt-right? Do they have any semblance of guilt? (…) There are two sides to a story,” Mr Trump said in response to one reporter.
He condemned the driver of a car that ploughed into one group of anti-racism protesters, killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer and injuring 19 others.
But he said that those who had marched in defence of the statue had included “many fine people”; and he asked whether statues of former presidents George Washington and Thomas Jefferson should also be torn down, because they had been slave-owners.
Mr Trump’s remarks were welcomed by David Duke, a former leader of the Ku Klux Klan, who tweeted: “Thank you President Trump for your honesty & courage to tell the truth about #Charlottesville & condemn the leftist terrorists in BLM/Antifa.”
But many others strongly condemned the comments.
Of the reactions of some 55 Republican and Democrat politicians collected by the Washington Post, only the spokeswoman for the Republican National Committee, Kayleigh McEnany, expressed her support.
Veteran Republican Senator John McCain tweeted: “There is no moral equivalency between racists & Americans standing up to defy hate & bigotry.”
One of Mr Trump’s former rivals for the Republican presidential nomination, Marco Rubio sent a series of tweets.
Richard Trumka, president of the AFL-CIO trade union federation, became the fifth prominent business leader to resign from President Trump’s advisory body, the American Manufacturing Council, over the issue. He said he could not take part “for a president who tolerates bigotry and domestic terrorism”.
In another development, the response of former President Barack Obama to the violence in Charlottesville has become the most-liked tweet ever.
The message, quoting Nelson Mandela, reads: “No-one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin or his background or his religion.”
It has been “liked” nearly three million times since being posted on Sunday.
Take steps to fend off ransomware attacks, federal ministers urge Canadians
Storm sweeps Hawaii, brings threat of ‘catastrophic’ floods
Document calling on feds to ‘apprehend’ unvaccinated is fake, Ontario officials say
COVID-19: Alberta adds 8 more Omicron cases over weekend
Jussie Smollett trial resumes, unclear if he will testify
Asia3 weeks ago
New Delhi’s air pollution still extremely high despite emergency measures
World2 weeks ago
Third night of violence in Guadeloupe as France sends police special forces
Middle East3 weeks ago
France denies handing over executed journalist Zam to Iran: Report
Europe4 weeks ago
EU accuses Belarus of ‘trafficking’ migrants toward border
Latin America4 weeks ago
Cuba accuses U.S. of organizing new protest demonstrations
Middle East4 weeks ago
The May 2021 Israel-Hamas war was a stress test for normalization
U.S4 weeks ago
Judge OKs US$626 million settlement in Flint water litigation
Middle East4 weeks ago
UN Security Council permanent members condemn Yemen’s Houthi attacks on Saudi Arabia