Washington, Aug 23: US President Dold Trump has defended his white supremacist response to the Charlottesville violence — omitting that he blamed “many sides” for the clashes — and also threatened to shut down the government, if necessary, to build a wall along the Mexico border.
Trump threatens to shut down government for Mexico wall
Trump, stung by days of criticism that he sowed racial division in the country after the Charlottesville violence, told supporters at a “Make America Great Again” rally in Phoenix, Arizo, on Tuesday that he strongly condemned “neo-zis, white supremacists and the KKK”, CNN reported.
Vice President Mike Pence and Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson also attended the rally.
During the 80-minute speech, Trump also took aim at the media and blamed them for giving far right groups “a platform”. He said the media misrepresented what he insisted was his prompt, unequivocal condemtion of bigotry and hatred.
Trump held media responsible for deepening divisions in the country, the New York Times reported.
In retelling his remarks on the August 12 violence that left one woman dead, Trump omitted his reference to “many sides” in his first response to the clashes, and also his reference to “both sides” — both seen as equating neo-zis with counter-protesters.
“What happened in Charlottesville strikes at the core of America. And tonight, this entire are stands united against the thugs who perpetrate hatred and violence,” Trump said.
“I hit ‘em with neo-zi, I hit ‘em with everything. KKK? We have KKK. I got ‘em all,” Trump said sardonically of his rebuke to Charlottesville racists, after being faulted for failing to condemn those groups in his initial response on the day of the clashes.
Talking about the Mexico wall, the President threatened to shut down the federal government if his proposal to build the wall is not approved and funded by the lawmakers.
“Build that wall. Now the obstructionist Democrats would like us not to do it, but believe me if we have to close down our government, we’re building that wall,” Trump said.
He also predicted an end for the North American Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with Mexico and Cada following a round of renegotiations last week.
“(...) I must be honest (...) Persolly, I don’t think we can make a deal because we have been so badly taken advantage of,” Trump said.
The President also hinted that he could pardon former Arizo sheriff Joe Arpaio, who became a tiol symbol of the crackdown on undocumented immigrants. (IANS)