Former US president Barack Obama just published the world’s third most-liked tweet condemning the racist violence that recently rocked Charlottesville, Virginia.
After Charlottesville voted to remove a statue of a Confederate general, white supremacists and members of the neo-Nazi “Alt-Right” group organized a “Unite the Right” rally. According to one attendee speaking to a Vice News reporter, the rally was protesting the “Jewish communists and criminal [racist expletive],” who “run the city.” The scene quickly turned ugly, with protestors waving swastikas and confederate flags and shouting Nazi slogans like “blood and soil.”
During the day, fights broke out between the members of the Alt-Right and counter-protesters who had organized the rally. The weapons were generally limited to water bottles and fists, but some of the “Alt-Right” protesters arrived with paramilitary-grade weapons and what appeared to be riot shields.
The event turned violent, and the violence turned deadly.
James Fields Jr., described by a former high school teacher as an admirer of Nazi Germany, allegedly drove his car deliberately into a crowd of counter-protesters.
The attack injured 19 and killed one, 32-year-old legal assistant Heather Heyer. A public memorial was held four days afterward.
So how did Obama respond to all of this violence?
Obama’s tweet is now the second-most liked in the world, just behind Ellen DeGeneres’ Academy Awards selfie and Ariana Grande’s response to the terrorist attack during her Manchester concert.
Current president Donald Trump also took to Twitter to discuss the attacks, although Trump was much slower to offer a firm condemnation. Hours after the rally, Trump claimed that the fatality and violence were the faults of people “on many sides, on many sides.”
After facing accusations that he wouldn’t condemn the white supremacists because they were his voting base, Trump issued an executive statement that the Neo-Nazis and white supremacists at the rally were “criminals and thugs”.
Charlottesville is still healing in the wake of the violence. Let’s hope that the nation listens to Obama’s message.