“Thanks to the great folks at The Villages. The radical left does nothing. Democrats will fall in the fall. Corrupt Joe is killed. See you soon!” he wrote in the tweet. About three hours later, the tweet no longer appeared on Trump’s timeline.
“President Trump is a great admirer of the peoples. He did not hear the only statement made in the video. What he did see was tremendous enthusiasm from his many supporters,” said White House deputy press secretary Judd Deere. , it’s a statement.
Before the tweet was removed, South Carolina Senator Tim Scott, the only black senator in the Republican conference, said Sunday that the video retweeted by the president was offensive and “indefensible.”
“There’s no question. He shouldn’t have retweeted and should just delete it,” Scott said on CNN’s “State of the Union” with Jake Tapper.
US Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar told Tapper that he had not seen the video, which was playing on the same news program, or the President’s tweet, “but obviously neither the President, neither his administration nor I would do anything to support him. of white supremacy or anything that can support discrimination of any kind. “
Azar declined to comment further when Tapper asked if it was a mistake by the president. “But obviously the President and I and his entire administration would oppose any act of white supremacy.”
Former national security adviser John Bolton told Tapper about “State of the Union” that Trump may have tweeted the video because he saw a “Trump 2020” sign and had not paid attention.
“It may be concluded that he heard it, and that he was racist, and tweeted it to promote the message. It is a legitimate conclusion to draw. It is also completely legitimate to say that he simply had no idea what else was on the video other than the Trump sign, “Bolton said.
Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez responded Sunday, calling Trump’s actions “simply indefensible.”
“This president tries to claim ignorance, but the consistency of his actions, in Charlottesville and more recently in Lafayette Square, drowned out his empty words,” Pérez said in a statement.
Villagers founder David Gee for Trump told CNN on Sunday that the man who chanted “white power” is not a member of the group and does not know who he is.
“Would you condone someone within our organization to talk about white power? Absolutely not. I would absolutely condemn that,” Gee said.
He added that “As the head of our organization, I run our organization as an almost Christian club and the Bible does not discriminate. My Bible tells me that God loves everyone.”
The message was echoed by John Calandro, who coordinates the media for the group.
“No one seems to know who the individual was,” Calandro told CNN, adding: “This was an unfortunate incident. This is not indicative of the people living here.”
People’s Democratic Club president Chris Stanley told CNN that his club had not staged a counterattack that day, but that the meeting was with some members who were in the area for another rally.
Amid nationwide protests over racial injustice and police brutality this month, the President retreated to divisive issues rather than seek a unifying tone.
Trump’s 2020 rival, presumptive Democratic candidate Joe Biden compared Trump’s tweet on Sunday to his 2017 remarks blaming “both sides” for violence between white nationalists and counter-protesters at a rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. “We are in a battle for the soul of the nation, and the president has chosen a side. But make no mistake: it is a battle that we will win,” Biden said.
This story has been updated with additional developments on Sunday.
CNN’s Nicky Robertson, Kevin Bohn, Manu Raju, Kevin Liptak, Ryan Nobles and Donald Judd contributed to this report.