Last Update: 12:55
US President Donald Trump has reverted to blaming "both sides" for the deadly violence last weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia. Politicians from both parties in the US were quick to react, rejecting Trump΄s position.At a dramatic press conference held at Trump Tower in New York on Tuesday, President Trump equated the actions of white supremacist groups in Charlottesville with those protesting against them, claiming that both groups were to blame for the violence.
"As far as I΄m concerned that was a horrible, horrible day. (…) You had a group on one side that was bad and you had a group on the other side that way also very violent. Nobody wants to say that. But I΄ll say it now," Trump remarked.
In his comments, Trump also appeared to show sympathy for the white nationalists΄ efforts to preserve Confederate monuments - the issue that had started the confrontations, as a monument depicting Civil War General Robert E. Lee was being removed in Charlottesville.
"Not all of those people were neo-Nazis. Not all of those people were white supremacists by any stretch. Those people were also there because they wanted to protest the taking down of a statue, Robert E. Lee," the president said.
Trump had earlier condemned the white supremacists in Charlottesville as "criminals and thugs" following a public outcry over his initial silence on the issue. His comments on Tuesday sparked renewed criticism, especially from Republicans.
Republicans and Democrats alike reacted to Trump΄s statement on Tuesday, while former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke tweeted: "Thank you President Trump for your honesty & courage to tell the truth." House Speaker Paul Ryan said in a tweet that "White supremacy is repulsive.
German minister calls Trump response ΄intolerable΄
German Justice Minister Heiko Maas criticized Trump΄s latest response to the violence, saying that there΄s no way to relativize anti-Semitism and racism.
"It is intolerable how Trump is now glossing over the violence of the right-wing hordes from Charlottesville," Maas said in Berlin on Wednesday.
"No one should downplay anti-Semitism and racism from neo-Nazis. There΄s nothing to relativize when it comes to radical right-wing propaganda and violence," he added.
On Monday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel told broadcaster Phoenix that clear action was needed to combat far-right extremism. She noted that Germany had "quite a lot to do at home ourselves" to address a recent rise in anti-Semitism.
Comments from all sides
Republicans and Democrats alike reacted to Trump΄s statement on Tuesday, while former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke tweeted: "Thank you President Trump for your honesty & courage to tell the truth."
ss/jm (Reuters, AP)