British Prime Minister Theresa May condemned U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday for comments made on Tuesday in which he praised some who marched in Charlottesville as “very fine people” while simultaneously criticizing the anti-fascism protesters who opposed them. Trump had also falsely claimed that the protesters had assembled without a permit and “viciously [attacked]” white supremacist marchers who Trump said had simply been “protesting very quietly the taking down of the statue of Robert E. Lee.”
In his comments, Trump neglected to mention that said marchers had also been seen giving the Nazi salute and chanting, “Jews will not replace us,” while carrying torches in a manner reminiscent of a Ku Klux Klan rally. An anti-fascist protester, Heather Heyer, 32, was also killed after an alleged Nazi sympathizer deliberately drove his car into a crowd of people protesting the white supremacists.
“I see no equivalence between those who propound fascist views and those who oppose them,” said May on Wednesday, after being asked about Trump’s comments. “I think it is important for all those in positions of responsibility to condemn far right views wherever we hear them.”
Activists have been pressuring the U.K. government for months to withdraw an invitation made to Trump to pay the country a state visit — an invitation that Trump reportedly told May in early June he would refuse until he could be assured that he wouldn’t be confronted by large-scale protests.
“Theresa May’s decision to invite Donald Trump for a state visit to the U.K. has always been highly controversial, but now that the President is nakedly sympathizing with neo-Nazis, there has never been a more obvious time that that invitation must be rescinded immediately,” said Nick Dearden, the director of Global Justice Now, which is part of the U.K. Stop Trump coalition. “What message is it sending to the people of U.K. if there is an open invitation to the most high-profile fascist-sympathizer of modern times?”