Former President Barack Obama’s response to the deadly, racially charged unrest in Charlottesville, Virginia, over the weekend has become the most popular tweet of all time.
Obama took to Twitter on Saturday after a rally organized by white supremacist groups turned violent, leaving a 32-year-old woman dead and multiple people injured.
“No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin or his background or his religion," Obama wrote, quoting late South African President Nelson Mandela in a series of tweets. “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."
By Wednesday morning, the tweet had more than 3.1 million likes, rising above Ariana Grade’s response in May to a deadly bombing at one of her shows in Manchester to become the most-liked tweet of all time. Grande’s tweet, which has more than 2.7 million likes, was previously ranked No. 1, according to Favstar, a company that tracks Twitter usage.
Police arrested James Alex Fields Jr., 20, Saturday after authorities identified him as the suspect accused of slamming into a pair of parked vehicles and running down counterprotesters demonstrating against the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville. The rally was organized to protest the removal of a Confederate memorial from the city’s Emancipation Park.
The crash claimed the life of Heather Heyer, a Charlottesville resident who was attending the counterprotest with friends.
In the aftermath of the attack, President Donald Trump was roundly criticized for his failure to call out white supremacists for the violence. He instead said that there were “many sides” to blame.
He attempted to mollify critics two days later, saying at a news conference that “racism is evil, and those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs, including the KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists and other hate groups that are repugnant to everything that we hold dear as Americans.”