Trump under pressure

President Donald Trump’s turnabout on the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia has rocked his administration, leading to rising speculation that some top officials may be looking for a way out.

The US leader’s remarks on the Charlottesville turmoil have sparked plenty of reactions in the US and even abroad.

WHAT TRIGGERED THE REACTION

I think there is blame on both sides and I have no doubt about it.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP

REACTIONS AT HOME

• "America must always reject racial bigotry, anti-Semitism, and hatred in all forms." - Former US presidents George Bush and George W. Bush in a joint statement.

• "Mr President, I encourage you to try to bring us together as a nation after this horric event in Charlottesville. Your words are dividing Americans, not healing them." - Republican Senator Lindsey Graham.

• "In no way can we accept or apologise for racism, bigotry, hatred, violence and those kind of things that too often arise in our country." - Attorney-General Jeff Sessions.

• "I disagree with the President and others who believe that there is a moral equivalence between white supremacists and Nazis, and those who oppose them by standing up for human rights." - Apple chief executive Tim Cook.

• Democrat leaders said Mr Trump’s remarks blaming both sides showed that he saw white nationalists and those protesting against them as morally equivalent. "By saying he is not taking sides, Donald Trump clearly is," said Democratic Senate leader Chuck Schumer.

• Some CEOs abandoned Mr Trump’s American Manufacturing Council out of protest. Mr Trump then disbanded two advisory councils.

• Five military chiefs representing the navy, marines, army, air force and National Guard posted messages on social media condemning hatred and neo-Nazis, saying that the extremist violence in Charlottesville went against the military’s core values.

• State and city leaders in several southern US states vow to step up efforts to remove pro-slavery Confederate monuments from public spaces.

REACTIONS ABROAD

It is racist, far-right violence and clear, forceful action must be taken against it, regardless of where in the world it happens.

GERMAN CHANCELLOR ANGELA MERKEL

I see no equivalence between those who propound fascist views and those who oppose them. I think it is important for all those in positions of responsibility to condemn far-right views wherever we hear them.

BRITISH PRIME MINISTER THERESA MAY

... AND SOME SHOW OF SUPPORT

The President has been clear on this tragedy and so have I.

VICE-PRESIDENT MIKE PENCE, who is standing by Mr Trump in the aftermath of the deadly violence. But he declines to defend the President’s statement that blames both the white supremacists and counterprotesters for the Charlottesville violence.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 18, 2017, with the headline 'Trump under pressure'. Print Edition | Subscribe