Donald Trump has endorsed a Twitter post that appears to blame leftist demonstrators for the violence that has shocked the nation in recent weeks, and has seen at least one death.
Mr Trump retweeted a post made by Dinesh D’Souza, a conservative commentator and prominent critic of former President Barack Obama, that implied that the media has purposefully downplayed violence from left-wing demonstrators and blaming the right.
“Finally, as if by accident, the Washington Post breaks down & admits the truth about where the violence is coming from,” Mr D’Souza wrote in that post.
Mr D’Souza linked to a Washington Post article that cited the Associated Press, noting that “black-clad antifa” – short for anti-fascist – demonstrators had “stormed into what had been a largely peaceful Berkeley protest against hate and attacked at least five people.”
Mr Trump has been criticised recently for his response following a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, when a counter protester was killed after a suspected white supremacist drove his car through a group of peaceful protesters. Those demonstrations had also seen clashes between neo-Nazis and counter-protesters, some of who were dressed in all black with their faces covered in the style of “antifa” protesters.
The President, after initially condemning violence and racism, commented several other times on the violence. After several days, Mr Trump said that there had been violence coming from both sides in Charlottesville, and seemed to avoid condemning white supremacy.
The emergence of antifa protesters has coincided with a surge in white supremacist rallies, and alongside the rise of Mr Trump on the national political scene. Clashes between those two groups have been seen at demonstrations throughout the country, including previous clashes in Berkeley before a planned speech by right wing provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos. Clashes have been seen repeatedly in Portland, Oregon, as well.