Trump applauds protesters 'speaking out against bigotry and hate'

Trump applauds protesters 'speaking out against bigotry and hate'
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President TrumpDonald John TrumpDems flip Wisconsin state Senate seat Sessions: 'We should be like Canada' in how we take in immigrants GOP rep: 'Sheet metal and garbage' everywhere in Haiti MORE on Saturday heaped praise on counterprotesters in Boston who he said were "speaking out against bigotry and hate."

"I want to applaud the many protestors in Boston who are speaking out against bigotry and hate," Trump wrote on Twitter. "Our country will soon come together as one!"

Minutes before, the president tweeted another message suggesting that protests may be necessary to help mend the country's deep social and political divides. 

"Our great country has been divided for decades. Sometimes you need protest in order to heal, & we will heal, & be stronger than ever before!"

The tweets signal a change in tone for the president, who just four days earlier blamed "both sides" for violence that erupted in Charlottesville, Va., and appeared to equate white nationalist and neo-Nazi groups with the counterprotesters opposing them.

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Trump's comments on Tuesday sparked intense backlash among both Democrats and Republicans, who condemned hate groups and urged the president to more firmly denounce white supremacists and neo-Nazis. 

But Trump refused to back down from his comments. In a series of tweets on Thursday, the president slammed calls to remove Confederate statues across the country.