US President Donald Trump has signed into law a resolution condemning white supremacists. Earlier, he reiterated his view that there were "bad dudes" among the people opposing a white nationalist protest in Virginia.
Donald Trump on Thursday signed into law a Congressional resolution "rejecting White nationalists, White supremacists, the Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazis and other hate groups."
Lawmakers reportedly maneuvered the president into backing the resolution, which was unanimously passed by Congress earlier this week.
Trump's meeting with Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina, the Senate's only black Republican, at the White House on Wednesday appeared to augur some kind of backtrack on the president's often ambiguous statements about the far-right, much of which has expressed support for him.
However, earlier in the day Trump reiterated a view he first expressed last month that there were "bad dudes" among the people opposing a white nationalist protest in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August.
"I think especially in light of the advent of antifa, if you look at what's going on there, you know, you have some pretty bad dudes on the other side also," he said, using a term short for "anti-fascist," an umbrella description for far-left-leaning militant groups.
Trump added that "more and more people are starting to agree with me."
"A lot of people are saying — in fact a lot of people have actually written, 'Gee Trump might have a point,'" Trump said. "I said, 'You got some very bad people on the other side also,' which is true."
Trump has been heavily criticized, including from within his own Republican party, for equating neo-Nazis and white nationalists with opposition groups and for prevaricating before condemning a murder that occurred at the Charlottesville protests.
Trump said then that there were "very fine people" among the nationalists and neo-Nazis protesting the possible removal of a Confederate statue in Charlottesville.
'No realistic comparison'
Senator Scott said he told the president on Wednesday that there was no moral equivalence, adding that Trump had appeared to acknowledge the damage caused by his earlier Charlottesville statements.
"We had three or four centuries of rape, murder and death brought at the hands of the [Ku Klux Klan] and those who believe in a superior race," Scott said. "I wanted to make sure we were clear on the delineation between who's on which side in the history of the nation."
Scott had earlier said that Trump had compromised his "moral authority."
"Antifa is bad and should be condemned, yes, but the KKK has been killing and tormenting black Americans for centuries. There is no realistic comparison. Period."
White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Trump and Scott had had an "in-depth" discussion about the Charlottesville comments, "but the focus was primarily on solutions moving forward."
"That was what both people came to the meeting wanting to discuss," Sanders said during a briefing. "What we can do to bring people together, not talk about divisions within the country."
jbh/cmk (AFP, AP)