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‘Racism is evil’

WASHINGTON (AFP) – US President Donald Trump, under pressure to explicitly condemn a weekend rally by white supremacists that ended in bloodshed, on Monday denounced racism and slammed the Ku Klux Klan and neo-Nazis as “criminals and thugs.”

Trump had taken heat from Democrats and Republicans alike for his response to Saturday’s violence in Charlottesville, Virginia.

A woman was killed and 19 others injured when a suspected Nazi sympathizer ploughed his car into a crowd of anti-racism protesters after a violent rally by neo-Nazis and white supremacists over the removal of a Confederate statue.

After meeting with Attorney General Jeff Sessions and new FBI Director Christopher Wray, Trump talked tough.

“Those who spread violence in the name of bigotry strike at the very core of America,” Trump said in nationally televised remarks from the White House, where he travelled early on Monday to meet with his top law enforcement aides.

“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,” he said.

“To anyone who acted criminally in this weekend’s racist violence, you will be held fully accountable. Justice will be delivered.”