Senior Tories have slammed Donald Trump for defending far-right protesters at the Charlottesville rally as Theresa May faces renewed calls to cancel the president’s state visit to the United Kingdom.
Ruth Davidson, the Scottish Conservative leader, said Trump had “just turned his face to the world to defend Nazis, fascists and racists. For shame.”
Sajid Javid, the communities secretary tweeted: “Neo-Nazis: bad Anti-Nazis: good I learned that as a child. It was pretty obvious.”
And Sam Gyimah, the prisons minister, said Trump had lost “moral authority” for failing to condemn the far-right.
During ill-tempered exchanges with reporters at Trump Tower on Tuesday the president said there was blame on “both sides” for the violence.
The comments appeared to equate the actions of the far-right demonstrators with those protesting against them.
A number of Labour MPs demanded May’s offer of a visit with state honours for Trump be scrapped.
The timing of the visit has yet to be confirmed, but in July Trump said he “will be going to London”.
Violence erupted in Charlottesville, Virginia, on Saturday after a group of far-right extremists gathered to protest a decision to remove a statue of a Confederate general.
Heather Heyer, 32, later died when a car was driven into crowds as anti-fascist demonstrators clashed with the white supremacists.
Trump faced heavy criticism in the immediate wake of the unrest after he said there was blame on “many sides”.
He took two days to condemn the actions of the far-right groups in particular, eventually branding the KKK, neo-Nazis and white supremacists as “repugnant to everything that we hold dear as Americans” in a statement on Monday.
However, during a boisterous press conference at his Manhattan residence on Tuesday the president appeared to have reverted to his previous position.
He acknowledged there were “some very bad people” among the statue protesters, but added: “You also had people that were very fine people, on both sides”.