Trump says he condemns ‘all types of racism’ ahead of Charlottesville anniversary

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President Trump on Saturday tweeted that he condemns “all types of racism and acts of violence” ahead of the first anniversary of the deadly “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Va.

Trump has been under intense pressure to condemn last year’s violence and speak out against white supremacists organizing an anniversary rally set to take place on Sunday. 

“The riots in Charlottesville a year ago resulted in senseless death and division,” he tweeted. “We must come together as a nation. I condemn all types of racism and acts of violence. Peace to ALL Americans!”

The president faced significant criticism over his response to the white supremacist rally last August that left one counterprotestor dead, saying that there was “blame” as well as “very fine people” on “both sides” of the rally. While Trump does not repeat that claim in his Saturday tweet, he also does not assign blame for racism. 

The second iteration of the white nationalist gathering is set to take place in Washington, D.C., this weekend. Events are also planned in and around Charlottesville, where authorities have declared a state of emergency in preparation.

White supremacist groups gathered last year to protest the removal of a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee. They were met by hundreds of counterprotesters, and the competing protests quickly devolved into street clashes. 

Heather Heyer, 32, was killed when a car was driven into a crowd of counterprotesters. Two Virginia state troopers also died as they were responding to the violence when their helicopter crashed.

D.C. officials are already taking security precautions ahead of Sunday’s protest to prevent a repeat of such violence. Police Chief Peter Newsham and Mayor Muriel Bowswer (D) announced Thursday that guns would not be allowed at the rally — even for gun owners with legal permits — and that protesters and counterprotesters would be kept separate.

Updated at 10:03 a.m.

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