Obama responded on Saturday to the deadly violence in Charlottesville, Virginia in a tweet that has since become the most-liked tweet in the history of Twitter.
“No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin or his background or his religion . . . People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love . . . For love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite,” the tweet read, quoting former South African president Nelson Mandela. It also included a picture of Obama smiling at four children.
It has been retweeted more than 1 million times and liked around 2.8 million times.
"No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin or his background or his religion..." pic.twitter.com/InZ58zkoAm— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) August 13, 2017
According to Favstar, a Twitter-tracking site, this makes Obama’s tweet the most popular in the history of the social media site, overtaking singer Ariana Grande’s response to the deadly terrorist attack during her concert in Manchester.
Obama has used social media a handful of times since leaving office in January to comment on major events or controversies, such as the terrorist attack in Manchester, England and Senator John McCain’s brain cancer diagnosis. It’s unclear if Obama himself or a social media team is handling his Twitter handle.
President Donald Trump has been widely criticised for his response to the violence in Charlottesville.
In a statement on Saturday, he condemned hatred and bigotry from “many sides,”, without saying which “sides” he was referring to. Many Democrats and some Republicans took issue with Trump for not calling out white supremacists, even after a car, allegedly driven by a neo-Nazi sympathiser, drove into a crowd of counterprotesters, killing a 32-year-old woman and injuring 19 others.
On Monday, after two days of criticisms, Trump finally explicitly condemned hate groups, “including the KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists.”
But on Tuesday, Trump defended his earlier statement.
“Before I make a statement, I like to know the facts,” Trump told reporters, also reiterating his belief that both sides are to blame for the violence.
Obama did not comment on the White House’s statements on Charlottesville and has largely avoided criticising Trump since he became president.
In June, however, he denounced Trumps’ decision to withdraw form the Paris climate agreement and his plans to repeal the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare.