Trump, Sticking to Script in Speech to the American Legion, Calls for Unity, Healing

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President Trump speaking to an American Legion convention in Reno, Nevada.
President Trump speaking to an American Legion convention in Reno, Nevada, Aug. 23, 2017.Credit: Alex Brandon/AP

One day after a searing speech tearing into the media and some Republicans, President Donald Trump returned Wednesday to calls for unity and love as he spoke to veterans Wednesday at an American Legion conference in Reno, Nevada.

"We are here to hold you up as an example of strength, courage and resolve that our country will need to overcome the many challenges that we face," Trump told the veterans, speaking in measured tones and adhering to his prepared remarks. He said all Americans must learn the same work ethic, patriotism and devotion as veterans.

"It is time to heal the wounds that have divided us, and to seek a new unity based on the common values that unite us," the president said. "We are not defined by the color of our skin," he added. "We are defined by our shared humanity." 

The appearance in Reno came a day after a combative speech in Phoenix on Tuesday and against the backdrop of the controversy over his response to the demonstrations earlier this month by far-right protesters in Charlottesville.

Under fire for saying "both sides" were to blame for the violence between white supremacists and left-wing counter protesters in Virginia on Aug. 12, in Phoenix Trump accused television networks of ignoring his calls for unity in the aftermath. "I didn't say I love you because you're black, or I love you because you're white," Trump said. "I love all the people of our country."

Police used pepper spray to disperse crowds after protesters threw rocks and bottles outside the Phoenix convention center where Trump spoke, police said.

With reporting by Haaretz.

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