On Sunday, Aug. 12, white nationalists gathered outside of the White House.
Deemed the “Unite the Right II” rally, the event was held to recognize the Charlottesville “Unite the Right” rally that ended in protests exactly one year prior.
Both rallies were organized by Jason Kessler. Learning from the mistakes that occurred in Charlottesville, officials prepared heavily before the Sunday protest.
Local officials expected the white nationalist turnout to be a couple hundred people, and knew there would be even more counter protesters. Officers from the Washington Police Department and United States Park Police were called in, forming a barricade between the two sides of the protest.
Additionally, officers from the two organizations and the Park Service met with Jason Kessler before the protest to explain what behaviors and items were allowed.
This came after a letter sent by James Murray, assistant director in the Secret Service’s Office of Protective Operations. Murray warned the Park Service that the individuals who violently protested President Trump’s inauguration in Washington were interested in doing the same on Sunday. Officials’ talk with Kessler was a way to ensure that all preventative measures were being taken to avoid another violent conflict.
“If there is potential for violence, it will be dealt with quickly,” said Sergeant James Dingeldein of the Park Police. He also gave a statement highly discouraging those involved in Sunday’s event from any activity.
The event itself turned out differently than expected, with only two dozen white nationalists in attendance. Kressler blamed this on lack of transportation and confusion as to the location.
Another protester told a reporter that Kressler’s excuses were not as prevalent, as most people did not attend due to fear.
“People are scared to come out after what happened last year,” said Kressler.
Counter protesters surrounded the white nationalist crowd, chanting “Nazis, go home!” and “Shame! Shame! Shame!” They attempted to drown out the speeches and chants of the white nationalists, headed by Kessler and David Duke. Duke is a former politician and a Ku Klux Klan leader.
Overall, there were few arrests made, and no one was injured during the protest. One man was arrested for attacking a white nationalist with a “Make America Great Again” hat.
There have been no statements since on the protest from President Trump, however he briefly mentioned it the day before it was held.
“Riots in Charlottesville a year ago resulted in senseless death and division,” wrote Trump in a Twitter post. “We must come together as a nation. I condemn all types of racism and acts of violence. Peace to ALL Americans!”
While failing to explicitly mention the “Unite the Right II” protesters, the President’s opinion is viewed as better than his response to the Charlottesville incident, where he blamed both sides for the violence.
Along with ignoring the alt-right protesters, President Trump has a long history of racist accusations, including recent ones involving Lebron James and Rep. Maxine Waters.