WASHINGTON (Dispatches) -- Neo-Nazis have applauded Donald Trump’s response to the violent clashes between white supremacists and anti-fascists which swept Charlottesville and left three people dead.
The U.S. president has refused to condemn the actions of the neo-Nazis, skinheads, and members of the Ku Klux Klan who descended on the Virginia city on Saturday carrying flaming torches and assault rifles, yelling racial abuse and wearing paramilitary clothing.
Speaking from a stage in a golf clubhouse, Trump decried "violence on all sides” rather than explicitly taking aim at far-right extremists.
"We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides,” he said. "On many sides.”
The billionaire property developer then left the conference, turning a deaf ear to reporters’ shouted questions, including whether he wanted the support of white nationalists who have allied themselves with him or whether he deemed the violence to be terrorism.
But while Trump has sparked widespread condemnation from across the political spectrum for failing to denounce the largest gathering of white nationalists in America for decades, his response has been actively celebrated by neo-Nazis and white supremacists.
The founder of Daily Stormer, an American neo-Nazi and white supremacist site which considers itself to be part of the alt-right movement, hailed the fact President Trump "outright refused to disavow” the gathering of white supremacists.
"People saying he cucked are shills and kikes,” said its editor Andrew Anglin. "He did the opposite of cuck. He refused to even mention anything to do with us. When reporters were screaming at him about White Nationalism he just walked out of the room.”
David Duke, the former head of the Ku Klux Klan who found himself at the center of controversy after Trump failed to immediately condemn his endorsement during the 2016 presidential campaign, was less effusive.
Duke, who in Charlottesville, said: "I would recommend you take a good look in the mirror and remember it was White Americans who put you in the presidency, not radical leftists.”
Chaos broke out on the streets of Charlottesville as tensions spilled into street clashes using rocks and pepper spray. A 32-year-old women was killed after a car was driven at speed into a group of anti-fascist protesters and two policemen died in a helicopter crash while taking part in efforts to restore peace to the area.
A state of emergency was announced by the local and state governments with police declaring the "Unite the Right” rally an unlawful assembly and demanding the crowds to disperse.
Fellow Republicans have slammed President Trump, who spent his presidential bid repeatedly attacking Obama and Clinton for failing to label terrorist attacks as such, for his response to the furor.
"Mr. President - we must call evil by its name,” said Republican Senator Cory Gardner, chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee.
The alt-right - a political movement which has been accused of racism, antisemitism and misogyny and of sharing an ideology with far-right parties such as the French National Front - gained increasing prominence during Trump’s presidential bid and has continued to do so since his arrival in the White House.
During the campaign, Hillary Clinton accused President Trump of making the alt-right "mainstream" and attacked the movement as ”racist ideas ... anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant, anti-women ideas.”
White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon is the former executive chair of far-right online publication Breitbart News which he described as "the platform for the alt-right” last year.