After a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville turned deadly over the weekend, President Trump was widely criticized for his response to the violence.
“We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides. On many sides,” Trump said Saturday afternoon, a few hours after James Alex Fields, 20, plowed his car into a crowd of counterprotesters, killing one woman and wounding several others.
Trump was panned by politicians, including several from his own party, for not calling out the hate groups by name and for not forcefully condemning the violence as an act of domestic terrorism. Charlottesville Mayor Michael Signer (D) accused Trump of not denouncing the hate groups because they were a major part of his base.
“Look at the intentional courting, both, on the one hand, of all these white supremacists, white nationalist groups like that, anti-Semitic groups,” Signer said of Trump’s campaign during an interview on CNN. “And then look on the other hand, the repeated failure to step up, condemn, denounce, silence, you know, put to bed all those different efforts.”
It is not the first time Trump has been criticized for not taking a strong enough stand against racially motivated violence or for not responding quickly enough to incidents. Our colleague Philip Bump has this rundown of how quickly Trump has responded both as a candidate and in his first few months as president.
A review of his Twitter history and past statements by The Fix and the Post Graphics team showed that pattern holds as president: Trump is often quicker and more forceful in his responses to incidents involving groups he frequently cites as terrorists, like radical Islamists, but he responds slower and less specifically to other incidents. In some instances, Trump only issued statements condemning violence after bowing to mounting political pressure. Here are four examples of Trump’s responses. All times are Eastern.
White nationalist rally in Charlottesville
Days after the initial incident, with political pressure mounting, Trump held an unscheduled press briefing at the White House in which he denounced the weekend’s violence and named the hate groups directly.
Merck CEO resigns from White House council
Merck CEO Kenneth Frazier quit Trump’s manufacturing council Monday, citing Trump’s initial failure to denounce white supremacists. At 7 a.m. Monday morning, Frazier released a statement on Twitter announcing his resignation.
“America’s leaders must honor our fundamental values by clearly rejecting expressions of hatred, bigotry and group supremacy, which run counter to the American ideal that all people are created equal,” Frazier wrote.
Less than an hour later, Trump fired back at Frazier on Twitter for quitting the council.
Trump was quick to respond after news broke of a June 3 terrorist attack on the London Bridge and at a nearby market area. The attackers ran over pedestrians on the bridge before stabbing several more at a nearby bar, killing seven people and wounding 48 others. Eyewitnesses reported that the men, named by police as Khuram Butt and Rachid Redouane, yelled “this is for Allah” as they carried out the attack. Trump wasted no time tweeting about his then-stalled travel ban and then in support of the people in London and the U.K. Several hours later, he tweeted again, calling the incident a terrorist attack and singling out the city’s mayor by quoting him out of context.
Trump remained silent for three days after the stabbing deaths of two Portland men after they intervened while a passenger hurled anti-Muslim insults at two women who he presumed to be Muslim. The attacker, Jeremy Joseph Christian, 35, fatally stabbed the two men, Taliesin Myrddin Namkai Meche and Ricky John Best, and wounded one other, Micah David-Cole Fletcher. Meche and Best died Friday, May 26. Trump responded on the official @POTUS Twitter account, not his more-followed @RealDonaldTrump one, on the following Monday. On the days in between, he used Twitter frequently for other purposes, including to tout the GOP’s Montana special election win and to defend his use of social media.