Former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard David Duke blasted Donald Trump on Saturday for the president’s tweeted call for unity following the violent protests by white supremacists and neo-Nazis in Charlottesville, Virginia, that left one dead and more than 30 injured.
Two Virginia State Police troopers were also killed when a police helicopter assisting with the melee crashed outside of Charlottesville. The incident is under investigation but police say that foul play is not suspected.
“I would recommend you take a good look in the mirror & remember it was White Americans who put you in the presidency, not radical leftists,” Duke tweeted.
In another tweet, the convicted felon and two-time presidential candidate also needled Trump for abandoning what Duke sees as some of the president’s key supporters: “So, after decades of White Americans being targeted for discriminated & anti-White hatred, we come together as a people, and you attack us?”
Duke, who has long espoused racist and anti-Semitic views as well as conspiracy theories (including denial of the Holocaust), attended the “Unite the Right” rally on Saturday, calling the event a “turning point.”
“We are determined to take our country back,” Duke told Indianapolis Star journalist Mykal McEldowney.
“We are going to fulfill the promises of Donald Trump,” he said. “That’s what we believed in. That’s why we voted for Donald Trump, because he said he’s going to take our country back.”
— Mykal McEldowney (@mykalmphoto) August 12, 2017
Groups of white nationalists descended on Charlottesville to protest the planned removal of a statue of Confederate general Robert E. Lee. They were met by counter-protesters, leading to violence that began Friday night and continued into Saturday.
Virginia Governor Terry McCauliffe declared a state of emergency. Police also demanded that hundreds of people vacate the city’s Emancipation Park.
During Saturday’s clash, white nationalists and counter-protesters tossed bottles, threw punches and deployed chemical sprays. Then video footage showed a silver Dodge Charger racing down a narrow street, plowing into pedestrians before slamming into two cars.
Trump tweeted a call for unity in response to the initial reports of violence. “We ALL must be united & condemn all that hate stands for. There is no place for this kind of violence in America,” he wrote. “Lets come together as one!”