Trump's general call for unity, as Washington braced for the possibility of violence between the white nationalists and counterdemonstrators, echoed his reluctance a year ago after the deadly Charlottesville rally to single out the supremacists for condemnation.
Demonstrators carry banners on the campus of the University of Virginia on Saturday during a rally on the anniversary of last year's Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville.
"Out of this awful tragedy, we've seen a community that was able to come together to say this is not who we are". Peace to ALL Americans!'
Numerous neo-Nazi, and other white supremacist groups that marched in Charlottesville a year ago have been weakened or fractured by infighting and by pressure from lawsuits and counter-protests.
August 12 marks the day when members of the alt-right and white supremacist groups protested Charlottesville's decision to remove a monument to Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee from a park. A state police helicopter later crashed, killing two troopers.
Last year, 22-year-old Clara Carlson faced down a group of white supremacists who marched through campus, surrounding her and a group of friends.
One of those businesses, Chief Brian' Comfort Kitchen, is located just blocks from where the epicenter for the rally will be held and its owner said he will take a stand against those attending the Unite the Right rally.
The white nationalist group plans to march from the city's Foggy Bottom neighborhood to Lafayette Square, directly in front of the White House.
"While it is Thomas Jefferson's hometown, you're talking about a president who enslaved people and built his empire off the backs of black people".
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Carlson said police didn't intervene to help her or her friends that night past year.
When the demonstrations continued on August 12, fighting broke out between neo-Nazis and counterdemonstrators, including members of the anti-fascist Antifa group.
At that demonstration, white supremacists and other members of the alt-right clashed with anti-racists.
With chants like, "Cops and Klan go hand in hand", the protesters' criticisms of both police and the University of Virginia underscored the resentment that still exists a year after torch-bearing neo-Nazis marched through campus, shouting anti-Semitic messages and beating counterprotesters. We have to stand up against hate, wherever we see it. When asked if she thought Mr. Trump could do more, Bro said she didn't know because she doesn't work on the presidential level.
But while she said she has put in hundreds of hours organising, "it's still unbelievable that they [white supremacists and the far right] will be here after what happened in Charlottesville".
After last year's protests, debates erupted on whether or not Confederate monuments should be removed.
An independent investigation of last year's rally violence found the chaos stemmed from a passive response by law enforcement and poor preparation and coordination between state and city police.
Bro said the event had sparked painful memories of her daughter's death, which has led to murder charges against the alleged driver of the vehicle, James Fields.
Kessler had sought a permit from the city of Charlottesville to hold an event commemorating the "Unite the Right" rally this weekend, but withdrew his request in a federal court hearing late last month, according to city officials.