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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 September 2018

Trump condemns white supremacists — two days after neo-Nazi kills protester

The US president came under furious criticism after shying away from mentioning far right groups by name in his response to the attack in Charlottesville on Saturday

Donald Trump pauses while giving a statement on the deadly protests in Charlottesville at the White House on  August 14, 2017. Jonathan Ernst / Reuters
Donald Trump pauses while giving a statement on the deadly protests in Charlottesville at the White House on August 14, 2017. Jonathan Ernst / Reuters

Donald Trump condemned white supremacist groups on Monday two days after a neo-Nazi drove his car into crowd of protesters, killing one.

The US president came under furious criticism after shying away from mentioning far right groups by name in his response to the attack in Charlottesville on Saturday.

"Racism is evil and those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs, including the KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists and other hate groups that are repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans,” Mr Trump said from the White House.

His comments followed a meeting with Attorney General Jeff Sessions and FBI director Christopher Wray pledging a civil rights investigation into the violent clashes in the Virginia town, which also injured 19 people.

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Mr Trump’s pivot and direct mention of the KKK and Neo-Nazis, came after days of bipartisan criticism to his statement on Saturday where he only referenced the "egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides".

Many Republicans and Democrats urged a clearer condemnation of the groups and a message of unity from the US president.

It was not clear if Mr Trump’s message was enough to calm the situation, or end the widespread protests in major US cities against racism that have been sparked by the violence.

But outside the social and political upheaval that events in Charlottesville have unleashed, corporate America and major commercial brands have moved to denounce white supremacists and shield their brands from the toxic neo-Nazi movement.

On Monday, one of the US’s most prominent African-American executives, Kenneth Frazier, quit Donald Trump's manufacturing council over the president lapse in condemning the extremists.

Mr Frazier, chief executive officer of the pharmaceutical giant Merck and the only black member of the council, said: "America's leaders must honour our fundamental values by clearly rejecting expressions of hatred, bigotry and group supremacy."

Merck’s stock value went up following the announcement and despite an attack from Mr Trump on the company via Twitter. Mr Frazier's resignation will give "more time to LOWER RIPOFF DRUG PRICES!", Mr Trump said.

“GoDaddy” was another company that confronted the white supremacist web presence after Charlottesville. The web host announced that the Daily Stormer, a neo-Nazi website that promoted the "Unite the Right" rally, will no longer be hosted by GoDaddy.

“We informed the Daily Stormer that they have 24 hours to move the domain to another provider, as they have violated our terms of service” GoDaddy said.

Earlier in the weekend, Airbnb, the lodging rental company went ahead and cancelled accounts and reservations associated with white supremacists, disrupting their plans to spend the weekend in Charlottesville.

The company said in a statement: “In 2016 we established the Airbnb Community Commitment reflecting our belief that to make good on our mission of belonging, those who are members of the Airbnb community accept people regardless of their race, religion, national origin, ethnicity, disability, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, or age.”

Even the garden torch company Tiki whose products were utilised in the first white supremacist rally on Friday issued a condemnation distancing its brand from their message.

“We do not support their message or the use of our products in this way. Our products are designed to enhance backyard gatherings and to help family and friends connect with each other at home in their yard,” the Facebook post read.

Other groups such as “YesYoureRacist” twitter account took on the task of outing and shaming those who protested in the white supremacist rally. In matter of 48 hours, the account has gathered more than 250,000 followers on Twitter.

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