After facing intense criticism for failing to denounce white supremacist demonstrators in Charlottesville, Virginia, President Donald Trump spoke out against racists.
"Racism is evil," Trump said on Aug. 14, reports The New York Times. "And those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs, including the KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists and other hate groups that are repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans."
Trump had angered many across the political spectrum when he said the violence was initiated by "many sides."
"We condemn in the strongest most possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides," Trump said on Aug. 12, reports NPR. "On many sides."
Many, including White House chief of staff John F. Kelly, urged the president to more strongly condemn the Nazi and KKK sympathizers. One woman was killed and more than 30 injured when a neo-Nazi allegedly drove his car into a group of counter-protesters at the demonstration on Aug. 12.
Trump's statements come just after Merck CEO Kenneth C. Frazier, who is black, resigned from the president’s American Manufacturing Council.
"America’s leaders must honor our fundamental views by clearly rejecting expressions of hatred, bigotry and group supremacy, which run counter to the American ideal that all people are created equal," Frazier tweeted on the official Merck account. "As CEO of Merck and as a matter of personal conscience, I feel a responsibility to take a stand against intolerance and extremism."
Trump attacked Frazier in response.
"Now that Ken Frazier of Merck Pharma has resigned from President's Manufacturing Council,he will have more time to LOWER RIPOFF DRUG PRICES!" tweeted the president.
Trump's tweet was widely criticized.
"It took Trump 54 minutes to condemn Merck CEO Ken Frazier, but after several days he still has not condemned murdering white supremacists," tweeted Keith Boykin, a former aide to former President Bill Clinton.
While Trump finally condemned the white supremacists, for many, it was too little, too late.
"Someone forced him to denounce the alt-right Nazis," wrote one New York Times reader. "He knows that they are a significant portion of his base. He is afraid to defy them. That is why Bannon is still in the White House."
"It's too late now," agreed another. "He made his priorities clear. He doesn't want to offend his base too much and if they hurt people who he doesn't like, so much the better even though he won't say that. This was the man who, during his campaign and more recently, encouraged violence. He likes a little violence. That the outcome could be someone's death doesn't count. Another reason he should not be in the White House: he protects bullies because he is one."
Sources: The New York Times, NPR, Merck/Twitter, Donald J. Trump/Twitter, Keith Boykin/Twitter / Featured Image: Ted Eytan/Wikimedia Commons / Embedded Images: Mark Dixon/Wikimedia Commons, Underwood & Underwood/Wikimedia Commons