US President Donald Trump shared on his Twitter account a video in which a supporter of his could clearly be heard yelling “white power.” The video was then deleted.
The video, which was retweeted by the president, documented a pro-Trump rally at a senior citizen center in Florida. In the clip, a man driving a golf cart, which was adorned with “Trump 2020” and “America First” signs, drove past a group of counter-protesters, one of whom could be heard yelling, “racist” and “where’s your hood?”
In response, the man in the golf cart yelled out the words “white power,” while raising his fist in the air. In the tweet, Trump called his supporters “great people.”
“Thank you to the great people of The Villages. The Radical Left Do Nothing Democrats will Fall in the Fall. Corrupt Joe is shot. See you soon!!” he wrote in the since-deleted tweet, which was deleted after about 90 minutes, according to the Washington Post.
White House spokesman Judd Deere claimed the president did not hear the inflammatory remark in the video.
“President Trump is a big fan of The Villages. He did not hear the one statement made on the video. What he did see was tremendous enthusiasm from his many supporters,” Deere said.
“He should not have retweeted and he should just take it down… It is indefensible,” GOP Sen. Tim Scott reacts to the video President Trump shared of a man driving a golf cart with Trump campaign posters, chanting "white power." #CNNSOTU https://t.co/76wZzokkUw pic.twitter.com/4zk2rFndcP
— State of the Union (@CNNSotu) June 28, 2020
Among those who spoke out against Trump for sharing the video was South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, who is the only black Republican in the Senate.
“There’s no question: He should not have retweeted it. He should just take it down,” Scott said on Sunday’s episode of CNN’s State of the Union.
“The entire thing was offensive,” he added. “There’s no question. We could play politics with it, or we can’t – I’m not going to. I think it’s indefensible and he should take it down.”
On the same program, US Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar said that Trump would never “do anything to be supportive of white supremacy.”
“I’ve not seen that video or that tweet, but obviously neither the President, his administration nor I would do anything to be supportive of white supremacy or anything that would support discrimination of any kind,” Azar said, adding that the entire administration stands “against any acts of white supremacy.”
In a separate interview, former National Security Advisor John Bolton — who has been one of the president’s most prominent critics ahead of the November election — said it was possible that Trump had only retweeted the message because he saw a campaign sign in the video, although it was “legitimate” to draw other conclusions.
“It may be that you can draw a conclusion that he heard it, and it was racist, and he tweeted it to promote the message. It is a legitimate conclusion to draw. It is also entirely legitimate to say he just had no idea what else was in the video other than the Trump sign,” he said, according to CNN.