Following his speech calling for unity after the weekend’s violent white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, President Donald Trump has resumed lashing out at his critics.
Just hours after encouraging Americans to “love each other, show affection for each other and unite together,” the president took to Twitter to attack Democrats, the “Fake News Media,” and Merck CEO Kenneth Frazier, who stepped down from Trump’s manufacturing council on Monday citing the president’s failure to swiftly condemn the white supremacist gathering.
“We all salute the same great flag, and we are all made by the same almighty God,” Trump said during brief televised remarks at the White House on Monday. “We must love each other, show affection for each other and unite together in condemnation of hatred, bigotry and violence. We must rediscover the bonds of love and loyalty, that bring us together as Americans.”
The speech came only after Trump was besieged with criticism following his failure to name and condemn the white supremacists, neo-Nazis, Ku Klux Klan members and others whose rally turned violent and left one counter-protester dead. The backlash against Trump mounted as white supremacists celebrated the president’s initial condemnation of violence “on many sides.”
“In times such as these, America has always shown its true character — responding to hate with love, division with unity, and violence with an unwavering resolve for justice,” Trump said.
But contrary to the message of love and unity that he read from a TelePrompTer on Monday, Trump lashed out at the “alt-left” during a free-wheeling press conference in Trump Tower on Tuesday, again blaming both sides for the violence in Charlottesville.
“What about the alt-left that came charging at the, as you say, the alt-right? Do they have any semblance of guilt?” Trump said. “What about the fact they came charging — that they came charging with clubs in their hands, swinging clubs? Do they have any problem? I think they do.”
Trump has also trained his ire on the CEOs who have abandoned him.
Following Frazier’s resignation from Trump’s manufacturing council, the president diverted attention from the CEO’s reasons for leaving by attacking Merck’s business practices.
“Now that Ken Frazier of Merck Pharma has resigned from President’s Manufacturing Council, he will have more time to LOWER RIPOFF DRUG PRICES!” Trump wrote.
Later the same day, Trump hit Frazier again, tweeting, “[email protected] Pharma is a leader in higher & higher drug prices while at the same time taking jobs out of the U.S. Bring jobs back & LOWER PRICES!”
After a handful of other corporate executives, including the CEOs of Under Armour and Intel, also resigned from the council, Trump called the group “grandstanders” and said they will be replaced.
Meanwhile, Trump’s reelection campaign released its first television advertisement over the weekend, in which it labels Democrats and the media “enemies” of the president, accusing the left of “obstructing” Trump’s agenda and the media of “attacking our president.”
“The president’s enemies don’t want him to succeed, but Americans are saying, ‘Let President Trump do his job,'” the ad said.
On Monday evening, the president retweeted a prominent alt-right conspiracy theorist, who tweeted about a gun violence in Chicago. Trump quickly deleted the retweet.
On Tuesday morning, in another attack that did not go unnoticed, Trump retweeted (and soon after deleted) a cartoon of a train hitting a person marked with the CNN logo. The image sparked accusations that the president was trivializing the death of Heather Heyer, the 32-year-old woman killed when a car drove into a crowd of counter-protesters in Charlottesville.
An anonymous White House spokesperson said the tweets were “inadvertently posted.”
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