WASHINGTON (AP) – President Donald Trump on Sunday tweeted a video approval message showing one of his supporters chanting “white power,” a racist catchphrase associated with white supremacists. He later deleted the tweet, and the White House said the president had not heard “the only statement” on the video.
The video appeared to have been taken at The Villages, a Florida retirement community, and showed protests of mourning between Trump supporters and opponents.
“Thanks to the great people at The Villages,” Trump tweeted. Moments in the video he shared, a man was driving a golf cart with signs and flags in favor of Trump and shouts the white power of the screaming. ” The video also shows anti-Trump protesters shouting “Nazi,” “racist” and profanity at Trump supporters.
“There is no question” that Trump should not have retweeted the video and “should simply remove it,” Senator Tim Scott, RS.C., told CNN’s “State of the Union.” Scott is the only black Republican in the Senate.
“I think it is indefensible,” he added.
Soon after, Trump deleted the tweet that the video shared. White House spokesman Judd Deere said in a statement that “President Trump is a great admirer of The Villages.” He did not hear the only statement made in the video. What he did see was tremendous enthusiasm from his many followers. ”
The Villages seniors in Florida protesting each other: pic.twitter.com/Q3GRJCTjEW
– Fifty Shades of Whey (@ davenewworld_2) June 27, 2020
The White House did not respond when asked if Trump condemned the supporter’s comment.
Joe Biden, the alleged Democratic presidential candidate, condemned Trump. “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 we will win, ”the former vice president tweeted.
Trump’s decision to highlight a video with a racist slogan comes amid a national race trial after the death of George Floyd and other African-Americans. Floyd, a black man from Minneapolis, died after a white police officer pressed his knee to his neck for several minutes.
Protests against police brutality and law enforcement biases have occurred across the country after Floyd’s death. There has also been a push to remove Confederate monuments and rename military bases that honor figures who fought in the Civil War against the Union. Trump has opposed these efforts.
Trump has been directing his reelection message to the same group of disaffected, largely white, voters who backed him four years ago. In doing so, it has fueled racial divisions in the country at a time when tensions are already high. He has also toyed with anti-immigrant anxieties by falsely claiming that people who have settled in this country commit crimes at higher rates than those born in the U.S.
Trump’s tenure in office appears to have emboldened white nationalist and supremacist groups, some of which have accepted his presidency. In 2017, Trump responded to clashes in Charlottesville, Virginia, between white nationalists and counter-protesters, saying there were “very good people on both sides.”
Sherrilyn Ifill, president and chief adviser of the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, told CBS “Face the Nation” that “This is not really about the president taking him down. It’s about the president’s judgment in introducing him.”
She added: “It’s about what the president believes and it’s time for this country to really face that.”