BERLIN, Aug 17 – Germany’s Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said Thursday US President Donald Trump had made “a huge mistake” by failing to clearly condemn a white supremacist, neo-Nazi and “alt-right” rally. Trump on Tuesday said there had been “very fine people, on both sides” at a violent clash between the far right and anti-fascists Saturday in the Virginia college town of Charlottesville.
Gabriel said that “creating an equivalence between the two sides instead of clearly rejecting the Nazi-leaning side, that was a huge mistake”. “And it is wrong. It shows how enmeshed part of Trump’s support base is with the far-right in the United States. His chief ideologue (Steve) Bannon is close to them,” he said in an interview with national news agency DPA.
A violent fracas broke out at the Charlottesville rally attended by members of organised neo-Nazi and so-called alt-right groups protesting the removal of a Confederate statue. One counter-protester was killed when a suspected Nazi sympathiser drove a car into a crowd. Trump’s initial response was criticised by those demanding a strong condemnation of racism and violence, but his further remarks on Tuesday – when he doubled down on his claim that there had been “blame on both sides” – set off a political firestorm. — AFP