The hashtag #WhiteSupremacistinChief trended nationwide on Monday morning as observers on social media reacted harshly to President Donald Trump’s televised remarks to the nation about a pair of mass shootings that occurred over the weekend. Critics pointed to the jarring disconnect between the content of Trump’s speech and the racism and violence he has stoked while in office.
“It’s like this speech was written in an alternative universe where none of the things Trump did over the last month happened,” tweeted HuffPost reporter Igor Bobic.
Trump delivered the speech—his first public appearance since the tragedies—Monday morning from the White House flanked by Vice President Mike Pence. “In one voice our nation must condemn racism, bigotry, and white supremacy,” Trump said.
“These sinister ideologies must be defeated,” he continued. “Hate has no place in America.”
The remarks—in which Trump also mistakenly referred to Toledo and advocated the death penalty—mark a shift from his tweet earlier in the morning placing place on media for contributing to mass shootings and mark a 180 from instances in which he’s stoked white nationalism at rallies, in speeches, and tweets, as well as with policies and his cabinet.
Many on social media were quick to pounce on the discrepancy.
Speaking to local Seattle news channel KING-TV, Washington Democrat Rep. Susan Delbene made similar observations, saying Trump “has been promoting a divisive culture, a hateful culture.”
Trump “has said racist and hateful things about members of our own communities, about immigrants,” Delbene said. “He has used divisive language, hateful language, so if he wants to make a difference too, he start right there and be the person who calls out hatred when it’s there as opposed to using hateful language himself.”