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On the one year anniversary of a neo-Nazi killing Heather Heyer by ramming a car into a crowd of anti-racists in Charlottesville, Virginia, a pitiable turnout of a couple dozen white supremacists gathered at a park in front of the White House today in the name of “white civil rights” and “free speech” — veiled phrases intended to distance “Unite the Right 2” from deserved accusations of racism.

The protest, which started at 3:30 p.m. and ended almost as soon as it began, was dwarfed by hundreds of anti-racist protesters who held a demonstration on the other side of the park, as well as in other parts of Washington, D.C. The two sides were kept apart by a massive police presence, and metal barricades between the two sides of Lafayette Square.

Even though white supremacist organizer Jason Kessler  — who planned last year’s Charlottesville rally, too — claimed that 100-400 of his protesters were expected to show up, just over 20 actually did. He ultimately admitted “Unite the Right 2” was a flop, saying the planning of the event was “weird and imperfect.”

Despite the numerous setbacks, Kessler was still intent on speaking to “President Trump at the White House” today, and proceeded to go on a tirade about the supposed grievances white Americans face. Kessler listed the New York Times editorial board hiring tech writer Sarah Jeong — whose old jokes about white people instigated an outrage among some in media — and Charlottesville police mishandling last year’s “Unite the Right” as examples of so-called anti-white civil rights abuses.

“There were a lot of people who were at last year’s rally who are very scared this year,” Kessler said — justifying why so few white supremacists showed up to his event. “They felt like last year they came to express their point of view. They were attacked. And when they fought back, they were overly prosecuted.”

Aside from the alleged threat of violence, Kessler pointed to infighting in his movement as a reason why so few showed up — calling out “neo-Nazi tough guys” who are “in their mama’s basement right now” and told their followers not to attend “Unite the Right 2.”

He also disavowed the white supremacist label and claimed his rally was not about hate. Kessler’s followers apparently didn’t get the memo, however, as numerous attendees flaunted neo-Nazi slogans and symbols in pamphlets and tattoos.

While last year’s rally featured flags from nearly every faction of the white supremacist movement, “Unite the Right 2” only featured American flags and a number of President Donald Trump’s signature “Make America Great Again” hats.

When asked if they believe Trump is empathetic to their cause, a white supremacist who would only identify himself as Parker said the president was fighting the “diving and conquering” of white people, who are supposedly being “destroyed” by changing racial demographics.

Another protester, who said his name was Bobby, told Mediaite that Trump the president “is empathetic to the rights of whites,” especially him, who feels that he “is a minority in the same neighborhood I grew up in.”

As for Trump’s opinion on the matter, the president took to Twitter on Saturday morning to tweet, “Riots in Charlottesville a year ago resulted in senseless death and division. We must come together as a nation. I condemn all types of racism and acts of violence. Peace to ALL Americans!”

Given that Trump did not call white supremacists out by name and instead condemned “all types of racism,” three “Unite the Right 2” goers who spoke to Mediaite said the president’s tweet was not an attack against their cause.

While the event was scheduled to start at 5:30 p.m., the white supremacists wrapped up their speeches and were escorted out of the area by police at around 5:00 p.m. due to heavy rainfall.

[images via Mediaite’s Caleb Ecarma]

Follow the author on Twitter (@calebecarma).

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