Barack Obama Makes Twitter History With Charlottesville Response

The former president’s tweet about the violence in Virginia is the most “liked” ever

Last Updated: August 16, 2017 @ 7:53 AM

Former President Barack Obama made Twitter history on Tuesday night when his tweet about the violence at white supremacist rallies on Saturday in Charlottesville, Virginia, became the most “liked” tweet ever.

The tweet features a photo of the former president peering into a window, face-to-face with some children of varying races. It was taken in 2011 when he was visiting his daughter Sasha’s school in Bethesda, Maryland.

“No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin or his background or his religion…” it says, quoting a famous creed from Nelson Mandela.

Obama continued the quote from Mandela in a series of two more tweets: “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.”

The quote is from Mandela’s book “The Long Walk to Freedom,” the autobiography that inspired the 2013 movie “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom.”

The tweet, on Wednesday morning, had more than three million likes and more than one million retweets. It broke the record with more than 2.8 million likes around 7 p.m. on Tuesday night, a Twitter spokesperson told the L.A. Times.

Obama’s tweet stands in stark contrast to comments made Saturday, Monday and Tuesday by current president Donald Trump, who has maintained his stance that “both sides” are to blame for the violence in Charlottesville. Trump also failed to condemn the acts as terrorism that resulted in one death and 19 injuries at the hands of a white supremacist participating in the rallies.

“What about the alt-left that came charging at, as you say, the alt-right. Do they have any semblance of guilt?” Trump said to a reporter at his off-the-rails press conference Tuesday afternoon, after asking her to define the term “alt-right” for him. He dug into his point, saying the counter-protesters came “charging” at the white supremacist groups “with clubs in their hands.”

“I watched those [rallies more] closely than you people watched it. You had a group on one side that was bad and you had a group on the other side that was also very violent and nobody wants to say that, but I’ll say it right now,” Trump continued.

When another reporter asked Trump if the “alt-left” is the same as neo-Nazis, he responded: “All of those people — excuse me, I’ve condemned neo-Nazis, I’ve condemned many different groups — but not all of those people were neo-Nazis, believe me. Not all of those people were white supremacists by any stretch. Those people were also there because they wanted to protest the taking down of a statue of Robert E. Lee.”

Trump also failed to call the violence at the white supremacist rallies terrorism when reporters pushed. A participant at the weekend demonstration drove his car into a crowd on counter-protesters, killing Heather Heyer, 32, and injuring 19 others. Trump called the driver a “murderer,” but said he didn’t want to get into “legal semantics.”