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Donald Trump has called for national unity a day after his explosive speech sparked violent protests at a campaign-style rally in Phoenix.
Speaking at an American Legion convention in Nevada on Wednesday, the US President said it is time to “heal the wounds that divide us” in a dramatic departure from his controversial speech the night before.
Mr Trump had stoked the fires of racial tensions in the speech after he accused political leaders willing to remove Confederate statues in the US of “trying to take away our history”.
The 77-minutes speech was followed by furious protests in which police fired tear gas at protesters in a series of violent clashes.
But in a dramatic departure, the US president told the convention the country must seek a “new unity”.
Mr Trump was quoted by CNN as saying: “It is time to heal the wounds that divide us and to seek a new unity based on the common values that unite us.
“We are one people with one home and one great flag.”
He went on: “We are not defined by the color 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.”
In Phoenix, the US President sparked outrage after continuing to defend Confederate statues following the death of 32-year-old Heather Heyer.
She was mown down by a car driven by a Nazi sympathiser during a nationalist rally organised in protest of the removal of a Confederate statue in Charlottesville.
The president read parts of statements he made in the days following the death of 32-year-old Heather Heyer, who was mown down by a car driven by a Nazi sympathiser.
“The words were perfect,” Mr Trump told the cheering crowd. However, he failed to mention his most controversial remarks, in which he said there was “blame on many sides” for the violence in Charlottesville.
Critics from both sides of the political spectrum denounced Mr Trump’s comments in the days after the Virginia rally as he failed to condemn white supremacists and other hate groups.
But the president insisted the backlash was fabricated by the media. “For the most part honestly, these are really, really dishonest people, they’re bad people,” he added. “I really think they don’t like our country, I really believe that.”
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