Just a day after belatedly condemning white supremacists over the deadly Charlottesville riot, President Trump has chosen to retweet an offensive cartoon by a far-right activist.
The post cartoon depicting a man labeled “CNN” being hit by a train labeled “Trump” was deleted minutes later, but not before being retweeted hundreds of times and captured on screen shots by journalists and activists.
The violence in the tweet drew comparisons with the death of activist Heather Heyer, who was run down by a white supremacist at Charlottesville.
An unnamed White House official told CNN hours later that the retweet was “inadvertently posted”.
Trump RT'd this pic showing a CNN journalist hit by a train days after a white nationalist ran his car into activists, killed Heather Heyer. pic.twitter.com/tWjdoE70AS
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) August 15, 2017
Later Wednesday morning (AEST) President Trump faced the press in a fiery media conference in the lobby of Trump Tower during which he blamed both racists and anti-racists for the Charlottesville riot.
Attacking reporting of the rally and his response, the President said the political left violently attacked white nationalists rallying against a decision to remove a Confederate statue.
“They came at each other with clubs … it was a horrible thing to watch,” he said, adding that left-wing protesters “came violently attacking the other group”.
President Trump earlier retweeted a Fox News report that he was “seriously considering” pardoning ex-sheriff Arizona Joe Arpaio, who defied a judge’s order to stop targeting suspected undocumented immigrants.
Mr Trump then oddly retweeted UK user Mike Holden who described the President as a “fascist, so not unusual.”
That retweet was also deleted, after Mr Holden celebrated his brief brush with fame.
“Donald Trump Rtd me, so he agrees,” Holden wrote, confirming that he was calling Trump a “fascist.”
I'm announcing my retirement from Twitter. I'll never top this RT. pic.twitter.com/HuGHkiPoyR
— Mike Holden (@MikeHolden42) August 15, 2017
Mr Holden told The Washington Post he had walked away from his computer after his tweet and was shocked when he logged back in.
“My Twitter went completely bananas,” he was quoted as saying.
Mr Holden said he was angered by President Trump’s response to the Charlottesville violence and hoped more people might question his motives.
“It’s a strong term to use, but I wouldn’t apologise for it,” Holden said of the word “fascist”.
“Why he retweeted it is beyond me, but maybe he got a taste of his own medicine.”
President Trump’s “inadvertent” retweets came three days after Heather Heyer, 32, was killed and 19 others injured when a white supremacist driver slammed his car into a crowd of anti-racism protesters in the Virginia town of Charlottesville.
The President’s initial response to the tragedy was attacked by both sides of US politics after he failed to specifically condemn far-right perpetrators.
He finally made a televised statement on Monday morning (AEST) speaking out against “evil” racism and naming the Klu Klux Klan and neo-nazis.
But he also took time to again attack CNN.
Asked by journalist Jim Acosta why he had waited so long to condemn the hate groups, Mr Trump responded: “I like real news, not fake news.”
Pointing the finger at the CNN White House correspondent, he added: “You are fake news.”
President Trump sparked condemnation in July when he posted a bizarre video on social media him wrestling a man with a CNN logo superimposed in place of his head, followed by a logo saying “Fraud News Network”.
The video, first posted to Donald Trump’s personal account, was shortly after retweeted to the official presidential POTUS Twitter page.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 2, 2017
– With agencies