Donald Trump omitted the heavily-condemned “many sides” part of his initial comments on the fatal violence at a far-right led demonstration in Charlottesville, as he blasted the “dishonest media” to supporters at an Arizona rally.
Prime Minister Theresa May joined people from across the political spectrum who criticised the US president’s first remarks for failing to condemn fascists after the clashes in the Virginian city.
During a tirade against the “very dishonest media” to cheering supporters in Phoenix on Tuesday night, Mr Trump recounted the infamous statement, which he produced from his jacket pocket.
“We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence,” he told the crowd.
But he fell short of the next three words in the statement – “on many sides” – for which he was accused of equating counter-protesters with neo-Nazis and white supremacists.
The Republican only bowed to pressure and criticised the hate groups, including the KKK, by name two days after the August 12 violence during which Heather Heyer, 32, was killed when a car ploughed into anti-fascist protesters.
After Mr Trump’s initial comments, Mrs May said: “I see no equivalence between those who propound fascist views and those who oppose them.
“I think it is important for all those in positions of responsibility to condemn far-right views wherever we hear them.”
Among the British critics was Communities Secretary Sajid Javid, who tweeted: “Neo-Nazis: bad, Anti-Nazis: good, I learned that as a child. It was pretty obvious.”
Mr Trump’s latest speech was aimed at buoying core support after backtracking on his pre-election calls for the demise of Afghanistan war on Monday, when he announced he would extend the battle.
Trouble broke out outside the convention centre following a day of largely peaceful protest.
Police, who had been on high alert at the first political rally since the Charlottesville attack, fired pepper spray to disperse a crowd after bottles and rocks were thrown, according to reports.