Former U.S. presidents condemn Charlottesville violence

By Allen Cone   |   Aug. 16, 2017 at 2:24 PM
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Aug. 16 (UPI) -- Four former U.S. presidents have condemned racism and hatred after the deadly car attack and violent protests in Charlottesville, Va., last weekend.

Former commanders in-chief Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush responded in the wake of the confrontation between hate groups and counter-protesters.

Obama's reaction on Twitter has become the most-liked tweet of all time, with 3.3 million likes by Wednesday. It also was the fifth-most retweeted post of all-time, with 1.3 million, according to tweet-tracking tool Favstar.

Obama's tweet included a photo of him greeting small children of various ethnicities at a day care center in Bethesda, Md., in 2011.

He included a quote from former South African president Nelson Mandela: "No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite."

Both Bushes released a joint statement Wednesday, saying, "America must always reject racial bigotry, anti-Semitism and hatred in all forms. As we pray for Charlottesville, we are reminded of the fundamental truths recorded by that city's most prominent citizen in the Declaration of Independence: We are all created equal and endowed by our Creator with unalienable rights. We know these truths to be everlasting because we have seen the decency and greatness of our country."

"Even as we protect free speech and assembly, we must condemn hatred, violence and white supremacy. #Charlottesville," Clinton posted to Twitter on the day of the car attack.

His wife, former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, posted four tweets Saturday.

"We will not step backward. If this is not who we are as Americans, let's prove it," she said in one.

"Now is the time for leaders to be strong in their words & deliberate in their actions," she wrote in another.

President Donald Trump has blamed both sides for the confrontations. Monday, he noted that "racism is evil, 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."

In his tweeted response, former Vice President Joe Biden wrote simply, "There is only one side."

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