Donald Trump has finally condemned the KKK, neo-Nazis and white supremacists, calling them “criminals and thugs” and saying: “Racism is evil.”
Trump caused outrage when, after one person was killed and 19 injured when a car drove into protestors opposing a Far Right rally in Virginia, he condemned violence on “both sides”.
He was under public pressure to specifically condemn them ever since.
On Sunday, White House officials clarified that Trump was referring to “white supremacists, KKK, Neo-Nazi and all extremist groups,” in his previous remark, but the statement notably did not come from Trump himself and was attributed to an unnamed spokesperson.
Vice President Mike Pence later attempted to clarify Trump’s statement by claiming that he meant to condemn extremist groups.
Finally, at a hastily convened press conference on Monday where he took no questions, Trump said the Far Right groups were “repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans”.
He said: “We condemn this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence... It has no place in America.”
Earlier, he returned to the White House and ignoring shouted questions about the race-fuelled clashes at the weekend.
Ex-Secretary of State John Kerry was underwhelmed by Trump’s attack on the Far Right, saying Trump’s “first instinct” to not condemn them was revealing.
Democrat congressman Tim Ryan said Trump’s remarks followed “three days of crushing public pressure”.
Trump’s failure to condemn white supremacists after Saturday’s violence led to a prominent chief executive to quit a White House panel on manufacturing in protest.
Ken Frazier, the head of Merck pharmaceuticals, said in a statement he was stepping down “as a matter of personal conscience” and “to take a stand against intolerance and extremism.”