Obama tweeted the message shortly after President Trump told a White House press gathering that "both sides" were to blame for the racial violence at Charlottesville. Trump later backpedaled and blamed those groups in a statement, but doubled down on his "both sides" comments at an impromptu press conference yesterday.
That prompted a furious backlash from groups on all sides of the political spectrum, who say the president should have only condemned the actions of KKK members, neo-Nazis and white supremacists. Since the initial comments, Facebook, Reddit and other sites have shut down hate groups, GoFundMe has cut off the defense funds for alleged Charlottesville killer James Alex Fields, and gaming chat app Discord has closed racist accounts.
After surpassing Ellen Degeneres' 2014 Oscar selfie tweet, Obama's tweet soared past Grande's sometime yesterday. With 1.2 million re-tweets, it also sits in fifth place for that record, though still well behind the inane Wendy's "Nuggs" tweet at 3.65 million and 3.4 million retweets for Degeneres.
Obama's tweet is actually part one of three; the first two have 1.2 and 1.1 million likes, respectively. They complete Mandela's quote, saying "People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love. For love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite." With Heather Heyer's tragic Charlottesville death and the worst US racial strife in a while, it's obviously a message that resonates.
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