US President Donald Trump on Sunday deleted a Twitter post he shared earlier of a verbal confrontation between anti-Trump protesters and his supporters, including a man who yelled “white power” at the demonstrators.
“Thank you to the great people of The Villages,” Trump tweeted in response to the video, referring to the Florida retirement community where the original post said the clash had taken place.
The tweet was removed from Trump’s account hours after it was posted. “The Villages” had been trending on Twitter as people seized on the tweet.
“President Trump is a big fan of The Villages. He did not hear the one statement made on the video. What he did see was tremendous enthusiasm from his many supporters,” White House spokesman Judd Deere said in a statement, which did not condemn the man’s decision to shout “white power.”
Trump’s tweet fueled accusations that he is fomenting racial divisions amid nationwide protests triggered by the death last month of George Floyd while in police custody in Minneapolis.
It came after he on Saturday tweeted the images of 15 people the US Park Service has identified as having been involved in protests in Washington last week.
The beginning of the video shows demonstrators yelling “racist” and “Where’s your white hood?” at a man and woman riding in a golf cart adorned with Trump signs.
“Yeah you got it,” the man responds, pumping his fist. “White power.”
“This is really not about the president taking it down. This is about the judgement of the president in putting it up. It’s about what the president believes, and it’s time for this country to really face that,” Sherrilyn Ifill, president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People Legal Defense and Education Fund, said on CBS.
The deleted clip also showed protesters yelling “Fuck Trump” and “Nazi” at other Trump supporters driving by in golf carts, a common mode of transport at The Villages, a master-planned community for people over 55.
“The Radical Left Do Nothing Democrats will Fall in the Fall. Corrupt Joe is shot. See you soon!!!” Trump tweeted.
US Senator Tim Scott, the only black Republican in the US Senate, earlier on Sunday had urged the US president to delete the tweet.
“I think it’s indefensible. He should take it down,” Scott said on CNN’s State of the Union.
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