Donald Trump retweets far right conspiracy theorist who pushed false 'Pizzagate' child sex abuse claims

Comes just hours after President issued updated statement on Charlottesville riot, criticising 'evil' racism

Jon Sharman
Tuesday 15 August 2017 11:59 BST
Trump calls white supremacists 'repugnant' and racism 'evil'

Amid growing pressure over his response to violent clashes in Charlottesville at the weekend, Donald Trump shared a tweet on Monday night by a notorious right-wing conspiracy theorist.

Hours after making a long-awaited statement criticising the "hatred, bigotry and violence" on show in Virginia, the President retweeted Jack Posobiec, a figure linked to the alt-right who was one of the key proponents of last year's "Pizzagate" conspiracy theory claiming senior Democrats were part of a child sex abuse ring.

Mr Posobiec had posted a link to a news story tallying those killed and injured in shootings in Chicago, adding: "Meanwhile: 39 shootings in Chicago this weekend, 9 deaths. No national media outrage. Why is that?"

The issue of gun violence, particularly in Chicago, has been a frequent subject of Mr Trump's tweets and speeches.

In June he said: "Crime and killings in Chicago have reached such epidemic proportions that I am sending in Federal help. 1714 shootings in Chicago this year!"

It came after Mr Trump faced widespread criticism for failing to condemn specifically the neo-Nazi and white nationalist rioters who descended on Charlottesville, Virginia, on Saturday, where one man has been charged with murder for allegedly running over a counter-demonstrator.

He first denounced "violence on all sides" but issued a second statement on Monday.

He said: "No matter the color of our skin, we all live under the same laws, we all salute the same great flag, and we are all made by the same almighty God.

"Racism is evil. And those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs, including the KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and other hate groups that are repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans."

But the two-day delay continued to provide fodder for his critics, and later Mr Trump tweeted: "Made additional remarks on Charlottesville and realize once again that the #Fake News Media will never be satisfied...truly bad people!"

Mr Posobiec describes himself as being on the "new right", not the alt-right, and has vehemently denied suggestions he is a white nationalist.

During a series of tweets following Mr Trump's retweet, he said: "I first disavowed white nationalists at my rally in July 2016. Like with Trump, the media acts like it didn't occur".

Earlier this year he said he had "denounced hate groups and bigotry".

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