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Trump thanked 'great people' shown in Twitter video in which a man chants 'white power'

CNN logo CNN 6/28/2020 By Veronica Stracqualursi and Sarah Westwood, CNN
a man wearing a suit and tie © Alex Brandon/AP

President Donald Trump on Sunday morning widely shared a video he said is from the Villages, a retirement community in Florida, in which a man driving a golf cart with Trump campaign posters is seen chanting "white power."

The President retweeted the video that showed the community's Trump supporters and anti-Trump protesters arguing with one another. The President thanked the "great people" shown in the video.

"Thank you to the great people of The Villages. The Radical Left Do Nothing Democrats will Fall in the Fall. Corrupt Joe is shot. See you soon!!" he wrote in the tweet. Roughly three hours later, the tweet no longer appeared in Trump's timeline.

"President Trump is a big fan of the Villages. He did not hear the one statement made on the video. What he did see was tremendous enthusiasm from his many supporters," White House deputy press secretary Judd Deere said in a statement.

Before the tweet was deleted, South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, the only Black senator in the Republican conference, said on Sunday that the video retweeted by the President was offensive and "indefensible."

"There's no question. He should not have retweeted and he should just take it down," Scott said on CNN's "State of the Union" with Jake Tapper.

US Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar told Tapper he hadn't seen the video, which was played on the same news program, or the President's tweet, "but obviously neither the President, his administration nor I would do anything to be supportive of white supremacy or anything that would support discrimination of any kind."

Azar declined to comment further when Tapper asked if it was a mistake by the President. "But obviously the President and I and his whole administration would stand against any acts of white supremacy."

Former national security adviser John Bolton told Tapper on "State of the Union" that it's possible that Trump tweeted the video because he saw a "Trump 2020" sign and had not paid attention.

"It may be that you can draw a conclusion that he heard it, and it was racist, and he tweeted it to promote the message. It is a legitimate conclusion to draw. It is also entirely legitimate to say he just had no idea what else was in the video other than the Trump sign," Bolton said.

Trump has stoked racial tensions in the US throughout his presidency and has recently used race-baiting rhetoric as he seeks to fire up his base to win a second term in office.

Trump often denies his language is racist or inflammatory and dismisses criticism of such rhetoric as political correctness. He also has long denied being racist and claims that he's done more for the Black community than any other president.

Trump used a racist term, the "kung flu," to describe the coronavirus at his recent Tulsa, Oklahoma, rally.

Amid nationwide protests over racial injustice and police brutality this month, the President has retrenched into divisive themes instead of seeking a unifying tone.

He has opposed changing the names of certain bases honoring Confederate commanders and he and his administration have taken steps to protect national monuments as some protesters have attempted to tear down Confederate statues themselves.

Last week, Trump tweeted seemingly random videos portraying White people being assaulted by Black people, asking in one, "Where are the protesters?" He warned protesters in Minneapolis that "when the looting starts, the shooting starts," a phrase that originated in the 1960s with a Miami police chief accused of racism.

This story has been updated with additional developments Sunday.


Video: Azar condemns white supremacy after Trump tweet (CNN)

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