President Trump marked the anniversary of the deadly white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va., by calling for unity and condemning “all types of racism and acts of violence.”
“The riots in Charlottesville a year ago resulted in senseless death and division. We must come together as a nation. I condemn all types of racism and acts of violence. Peace to ALL Americans!” he tweeted.
A white nationalist protest over the removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee turned violent last year when participants clashed with counter protesters. Counter protester Heather Heyer, was killed when James Fields Jr., drove his car into a crowd.
Trump was widely criticized by both Democrats and some Republicans for blaming “both sides” for the protest violence, although he also issued a statement from the White House condemning neo-Nazis and white supremacists.
Trump’s tweet on Saturday comes as police block off streets in preparation for rallies and counter-rallies marking the same anniversary.
Jason Kessler, the organizer of last year’s rally, is planning to hold a “white civil rights” rally on Sunday in Washington, D.C., to mark the anniversary. Meanwhile, other events are planned to promote racial healing.
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam and D.C. declared states of emergency, citing the “potential impacts of events” in the area. Streets and parks will be closed and are restricting access to a “security area.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.