President Trump's remarks have stirred controversy.
President Trump's remarks have stirred controversy.
For the fourth time, President Donald Trump on Monday made an attempt to clean up his stance on hate groups.

     Embattled over his response to an Aug. 12 protest that focused on a Confederate statue in Charlottesville, Virginia, Trump made a stab at addressing the issue while giving an unrelated address on strategy in Afghanistan. "Loyalty to our nation demands loyalty to one another. Love for America requires love for all of its people," he said. "When we open our hearts to patriotism, there is no room for prejudice, no place for bigotry, and no tolerance for hate. The young men and women we send to fight our wars abroad deserve to return to a country that is not at war with itself at home. We cannot remain a force for peace in the world if we are not at peace with each other."
     Trump made his remarks on the same day that a survey reported most Americans disapprove of his response to the protest. Three lives were lost when white nationalists arrived in Charlottesville to protest the planned removal of a Robert E. Lee statue. Two state troopers died in a helicopter crash, and a 32-year-old woman was killed when a car plowed into a crowd of pedestrians.
    In a series of remarks afterward, Trump condemned “this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides." He repeated, “on many sides.”
     He subsequently issued a condemnation of the hate groups. But then, in an unscripted exchange with reporters Aug. 15, he faulted both the hate groups and the counterprotesters. And during his speech Monday, he again condemned bigotry and intolerance.
     By that point, Americans had made up their minds. A Washington Post-ABC News poll found that 56 percent disapprove of the president’s handling of the situation.
     When responding to a crisis, a president is expected to be dignified, comforting and a proponent of the rule of law. Even so, some events stir overwhelming emotions. A president’s call for peace, no matter how flawlessly delivered, can have little effect. Here are four examples:

Sept. 15, 1963, the bombing of an Alabama church: Members of the Ku Klux Klan bombed a church in Birmingham, Alabama,knocking congregation members to the floor and ending the lives of four girls -- three 14-year-olds and an 11-year-old.  A fifth girl, then 12, survived, but lost an eye. 
    In response, President John F. Kennedy noted his "outrage and grief" over the murder of children. "It is regrettable that public disparagement of law and order has encouraged violence which has fallen on the innocent," he said. "If these cruel and tragic events can only awaken that city and state--if they can only awaken this entire nation--to a realization of the folly of racial injustice and hatred and violence, then it is not too late for all concerned to unite in steps toward peaceful progress before more lives are lost."
     Civil rights leaders counseling restraint "are bravely serving their ideals in their most difficult task--for the principles of peaceful self-control are least appealing when most needed," he said.
     In closing, he promised a response by law enforcement. "Assistant Attorney General Burke Marshall has returned to Birmingham to be of assistance to community leaders and law enforcement officials--and bomb specialists of the Federal Bureau of Investigation are there to lend every assistance in the detection of those responsible for yesterday's crime. This nation is committed to a course of domestic justice and tranquility..." (The complete statement can be found on the website of The American Presidency Project at University of California, Santa Barbara.)
     After the bombing, "violence broke out across the city," according to the Encyclopedia Britannica account."Two more young African Americans died, and the National Guard was called in to restore order." The first trial in the case wasn't held until 1977. Two others implicated were tried in 2001 and 2002. A fourth man thought to have been involved died in 1994, having never been brought to justice. 

April 4, 1968, the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.:  King was standing on the second-floor balcony of his motel room in Memphis, Tennessee, when he was murdered by a sniper, later identified as James Earl Ray. Violent riots broke out in more than 100 U.S. cities, recounts the Civil Rights Digital Library at the University of Georgia.  
     In his statement, dated the same day, President Lyndon B. Johnson offered condolences and attempted to calm the waters. "America is shocked and saddened by the brutal slaying tonight of Dr. Martin Luther King. I ask every citizen to reject the blind violence that has struck Dr. King, who lived by nonviolence," Johnson said.
    "I pray that his family can find comfort in the memory of all he tried to do for the land he loved so well. I have just conveyed the sympathy of Mrs. Johnson and myself to his widow, Mrs. King. I know that every American of good will joins me in mourning the death of this outstanding leader and in praying for peace and understanding throughout this land.
    "We can achieve nothing by lawlessness and divisiveness among the American people. It is only by joining together and only by working together that we can continue to move toward equality and fulfillment for all of our people.
    "I hope that all Americans tonight will search their hearts as they ponder this most tragic incident...."
     The loss of King rocked the nation, and the rioting continued. In the book, Baltimore '68, Riots and Rebirth in an American City, scholar Peter B. Levy wrote that unrest was widespread. "Between the evening of April 4, when James Earl Ray shot Martin Luther King, Jr., and Easter Sunday, April 14, 1968, cities in 36 states and the District of Columbia experienced looting, arson or sniper fire. Fifty-four cities suffered at least $100,000 in property damage, with the nation’s capital and Baltimore topping the list at approximately $15 million and $12 million, respectively. Thousands of small shopkeepers saw their life savings go up in smoke. Combined, 43 men and women were killed, approximately 3,500 were injured, and 27,000 were arrested. Not until over 58,000 national Guardsmen and army troops joined local state and police forces did the uprisings cease. Put somewhat differently, during Holy Week 1968, the United States experienced its greatest wave of social unrest since the Civil War."

April 29, 1992, unrest in California: Riots followed the acquittal of officers charged in the beating of Rodney King, an African-American motorist. The incident, March 3, 1991, was videotaped and shown repeatedly on cable television.
    President George H.W. Bush learned of the verdict at a state dinner. He responded, "The court system has worked. What's needed now is calm, respect for the law. Let the appeals process take place," according to a 1992 story in The Baltimore Sun. But newspaper's writers pointed out that the comments "seemed at first an acceptance of the verdict, along with an incredible misunderstanding of the system he appeared to be commending, since no 'appeal' is possible after an acquittal."
    Bush gave it another try in his address to the nation May 1. He first spoke of attempts to restore order, then pointed out that there had been nearly 4,000 fires, property damage, hundreds of injuries and the deaths of more than 30 people. (Later, The New York Times reported 58 deaths, of which 50 were ruled homicides.)
    He moved on, zeroing in on his own emotional response -- which many shared. "Beyond the urgent need to restore order is the second issue, the question of justice: Whether Rodney King's federal civil rights were violated," Bush said. "What you saw and what I saw on the TV video was revolting. I felt anger. I felt pain. I thought: How can I explain this to my grandchildren?
    "Civil rights leaders and just plain citizens fearful of and sometimes victimized by police brutality were deeply hurt. And I know good and decent policemen who were equally appalled.
    "I spoke this morning to many leaders of the civil rights community. And they saw the video, as we all did. For 14 months they waited patiently, hopefully. They waited for the system to work. And when the verdict came in, they felt betrayed. Viewed from outside the trial, it was hard to understand how the verdict could possibly square with the video. Those civil rights leaders with whom I met were stunned. And so was I, and so was Barbara, and so were my kids.
    "But the verdict Wednesday was not the end of the process. The Department of Justice had started its own investigation immediately after the Rodney King incident and was monitoring the state investigation and trial. And so let me tell you what actions we are taking on the federal level to ensure that justice is served.
    "Within one hour of the verdict, I directed the Justice Department to move into high gear on its own independent criminal investigation into the case. And next, on Thursday, five federal prosecutors were on their way to Los Angeles. Our Justice Department has consistently demonstrated its ability to investigate fully a matter like this."
    Three months later, a federal grand jury in Los Angeles indicted the same four officers on federal charges of violating King's civil rights, the New York Times recounts.  Two of the officers were subsequently convicted.
Aug. 9, 2014:
Two decades after the Rodney King case, Michael Brown, an unarmed 18-year-old, was shot and killed by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, sparking community unrest and controversy over the treatment of African-American men by law enforcement.      
      “I know that emotions are raw right now in Ferguson and there are certainly passionate differences about what has happened," said President Barack Obama in a statement on Aug. 14. "There are going to be different accounts of how this tragedy occurred. There are going to be differences in terms of what needs to happen going forward. That’s part of our democracy. But let’s remember that we’re all part of one American family. We are united in common values, and that includes belief in equality under the law; a basic respect for public order and the right to peaceful public protest; a reverence for the dignity of every single man, woman and child among us; and the need for accountability when it comes to our government.”
  Throughout the following year, protests continued.

    To know more:


     Why the president's first 100 days matter

     Coretta Scott King's letter on Jeff Sessions

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