President Trump removed Sunday his retweet of a protest video that showed a supporter yelling “white power,” a comment that the White House said he never heard.
“President Trump is a big fan of The Villages. He did not hear the one statement made on the video,” said White House deputy press secretary Judd Deere. “What he did see was tremendous enthusiasm from his many supporters.”
The two-minute video taken at The Villages, a retirement community in Florida, showed anti-Trump protesters yelling at Trump supporters as they rolled by in golf carts decorated with pro-Trump signs and American flags.
After one man yelled “racist, racist,” a Trump supported shouted back “white power!”
Sen. Tim Scott, South Carolina Republican, said earlier Sunday that the president should remove the video, adding that he did not want to “play politics” with what he described as the “indefensible” video.
“Certainly the comment about the white power was offensive. There’s no question,” said Mr. Scott on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “I mean, we can play politics with it or we can’t. I’m not going to. I think it’s indefensible. We should take it down. That’s what I think.”
The raucous clash showed anti-Trump protesters yelling “Nazi,” “f—- Trump,” “f—-ing Nazi pigs,” and other profanities at the Trump supporters. One protester carried a “White Trash” sign.
“Well, listen: If you watched the entire video, you can’t play it because it was so profanity-laced,” said Mr. Scott. “The entire thing was offensive.”
The White House had no immediate comment on why the tweet was deleted.
Democrats were quick to blast the president for the self-inflicted political wound.
Former Obama administration official Julian Castro called it “white supremacist language amplified by the president of the United States.”
Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden, the putative 2020 Democratic presidential nominee, said the video showed “people shouting ‘white power,’” although it was one man.
“Today the President shared a video of people shouting ‘white power’ and said they were ‘great,’” tweeted Mr. Biden. “Just like he did after Charlottesville.”
Sen. Bernie Sanders, Vermont independent, said that “[j]ust when you think Trump cannot be more vile or racist, he outdoes himself.”
“Let us stand together and make certain that this ‘stable genius’ is defeated, and defeated badly, in November,” tweeted Mr. Sanders.
• Dave Boyer contributed to this report.