Just hours after his rant-filled speech sparked angry protests on the streets of Phoenix, Arizona, President Donald Trump has preached unity to a Nevada gathering.
“It is time to heal the wounds that divide us and to seek a new unity based on the common values that unite us,” President Trump told the National Convention of the American Legion on Thursday morning (AEST).
“We are one people with one home and one great flag.”
It was a dramatic about face for a President who that morning had told a Phoenix rally the media were to blame for the condemnation of his response to a violent rally organised by white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia, which led to the killing of a counter-protester.
During his his 80-minute speech, President Trump also threatened to shut down the government unless funding was approved for his proposed wall on the US-Mexico border.
Police deployed gas to disperse crowds in Phoenix after protesters outside the Trump rally threw rocks and bottles at officers.
But on Thursday, President Trump – speaking from a teleprompter – said: “We are not defined by the colour of our skin, the figure on our paycheck or the party of our politics.”
“We are defined by our shared humanity. By our citizenship in this magnificent nation, and by the love that fills our hearts,” he said.
“This is the future we can build together if we have the courage to act, the strength to endure and the patriotism to join together with true affection for our fellow citizen.”
President Trump pointed to armed service veterans as examples of the kind of national pride and unity he says he’s trying to inspire.
“We have no division too deep for us to heal, and there is no enemy too strong for us to overcome,” he said.
“Because in America, we never lose faith. We never forget who we are, and we never stop striving for a better future. Together, we cannot fail. We will not fail. We will make America great again — greater than ever before, I promise.”
– With agencies