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Trump’s far-right defence ‘a huge mistake’: Germany

By AFP
17 Aug 2017 0

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,” he said in an interview with national news agency DPA. “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.”

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. DM

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