PHOENIX — President Trump called Tuesday for an end to the racial divisiveness roiling the country and blasted the news media for misreporting his reaction to the deadly violence at a white nationalist demonstration in Charlottesville, Virginia.
“It’s time for all of us to remember that we are all on the same team. We are all Americans and we all believe right now in America first. And it is happening and it is happening fast,” Mr. Trump said at a campaign-style rally.
The president, who has suffered ongoing criticism of his response to Charlottesville and been blamed for stoking racial tensions, said the “dishonest media” was misreporting his response and trying to tar his administration with racial hatred.
“It’s time to expose the crooked media deceptions and to challenge the media for their role in fomenting division,” Mr. Trump told a crowd of thousands in the Phoenix Convention Center. “And yes, by the way, they are trying to take away our history and our heritage. You see that.”
The president read through his statements issued soon after white nationalist protesters and counter-protesters clashed at an Aug. 12 demonstration in Charlottesville, where the city planned to remove a Confederate statue from a public park.
A car sped into a crowd of counter-protesters and killed 32-year-old Heather Heyer and injured 19 others.
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The president noted that his first statement included condemnation of all racial hatred and a plea for Americans to show “true affection for each other.”
“I said for all of us, all of us,” Mr. Trump told the rally. “But they don’t report it. They let it go.”
He singled out The New York Times, Washington Post and CNN as examples of news organizations that are out to get him.
Mr. Trump was scolded in the news media for his immediate response to the violence because he said there is “blame on both sides.” The president later specifically condemned neo-Nazis, the Ku Klux Klan and white nationalists that participated in the demonstration.
The president mocked the news media for complaining that his condemnation didn’t come soon enough.
“‘It should have been sooner. He’s a racist,’” Mr. Trump said, mimicking a news anchor. “These are truly dishonest people.”
• S.A. Miller reported from Washington