Trump faces global criticism for rebuking anti-racist protesters in Charlottesville

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
US President Donald Trump speaks to the press about protests in Charlottesville, Virginia, at the lobby of Trump Tower in New York on August 15, 2017. (AFP photo)

Officials in Britain, Germany, the UN and elsewhere have condemned US President Donald Trump's latest comments on the deadly clashes that erupted in Charlottesville, Virginia, in which he said both the white nationalist demonstrators and the counter-protesters were responsible for the violence.

The international criticism on Wednesday joined that of many US lawmakers in Congress from both political parties.

UK Prime Minister Theresa May criticized Trump for suggesting there was a moral equivalence between the racist protesters and those campaigning against them in Charlottesville.

“I see no equivalence between those who propound fascist views and those who oppose them. I think it is important for all those in positions of responsibility to condemn far-right views wherever we hear them,” May said in Portsmouth at a ceremony to mark the arrival of the new aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth.

A number of British lawmakers were also heavily critical of Trump's comments.

Vince Cable, the Leader of the Liberal Democrats in Parliament, said an invitation from Queen Elizabeth II for a state visit by Trump should be canceled considering the president’s remarks.

“Donald Trump has shown he is unable to detach himself from the extreme right and racial supremacists,” Cable said. “The fact he remains highly dependent on White House advisers from the extreme right shows he is firmly anchored in this detestable worldview.”

“It would be completely wrong to have this man visit the UK on a state visit.”

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres tweeted: "Racism, xenophobia, anti-Semitism & Islamophobia are poisoning our societies. We must stand up against them. Every time. Everywhere."

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In Germany, the country’s justice minister said Wednesday that no one should play down anti-Semitism or neo-Nazi racism. "It is unbearable how Trump now also glosses over the violence during the march of the right-wing protests in Charlottesville,” Heiko Maas said.

"Nobody should trivialize the anti-Semitism and racism of neo-Nazis. When it comes to right-wing propaganda and violence, there is nothing to relativize,” he added.

On Saturday, thousands of white supremacists, KKK members and neo-Nazis descended on Charlottesville for a “Unite the Right” rally. The march turned violent after a 20-year-old man plowed his vehicle into a group of counter-demonstrators protesting against racism, killing a woman and injuring 20 others.

On Tuesday Trump provoked further controversy when he said that those who had been protesting against the right-wing groups were partly responsible for the violence. His comments came a day after he bowed to overwhelming pressure to explicitly condemn the white supremacist groups.

Trump has come under increasing pressure over his stance on the violence, with many members of his own Republican party and US business executives distancing themselves from him.

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