President Trump might have drawn widespread criticism for not immediately denouncing white supremacists after violent clashes in Charlottesville, Va., but at least one group seemed pleased by his comments: A neo-Nazi website.
Trump, while on a working vacation at his New Jersey golf club, addressed the nation Saturday soon after a car plowed into a group of anti-racist counter-protesters in Charlottesville, a college town where neo-Nazis and white nationalists had assembled for march. The president did not single out any group, instead blaming ‘‘many sides’’ for the violence.
Although Trump’s comments drew fire from Republicans and Democrats alike, the president’s speech drew praise from the neo-Nazi website Daily Stormer, which wrote: ‘‘Trump comments were good. He didn’t attack us. He just said the nation should come together. Nothing specific against us. . . No condemnation at all.’’
The website had been promoting the Charlottesville demonstration as part of its ‘‘Summer of Hate’’ edition.
White nationalists had assembled in Charlottesville this weekend to vent their frustration against the city’s plans to take down a statue of Confederal Gen. Robert E. Lee. Counter-protesters massed in opposition, and a few hours after violent encounters between the two groups, a car drove into a crowd of people peacefully protesting the rally, killing one and injuring at least 19 others.
“Alt-right” leader Richard Spencer and former Ku Klux Klan member David Duke attended the demonstrations. Duke told reporters that the white nationalists were working to ‘‘fulfill the promises of Donald Trump.’’
Trump, as a candidate, frequently came under scrutiny for being slow to offer his condemnation of white supremacists. His strongest denunciation of the movement has not come voluntarily, only when asked, and he occasionally trafficked in retweets of racist social media posts during his campaign. His chief strategist, Steve Bannon, once declared that his former news site, Breitbart, was ‘‘the platform for the alt-right.’’