On Saturday former President Barack Obama shared a poignant, heartfelt message on Twitter in response to the violence that was erupting in Charlottesville, Virginia. In a series of posts quoting late South African President Nelson Mandela, Obama began by tweeting, “No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin or his background or his religion…” Accompanying the post: A photo of the former president smiling at children of different ethnicities.
In subsequent tweets, Obama completed the quote, saying, “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.”
As of Tuesday, his initial post had garnered over 2.5 million likes and over 1 million retweets, making it the second most popular tweet of all time. (For reference: The most popular tweet of all time is this post from Ariana Grande, written in response to the Manchester arena bombing.)
Obama’s successor Donald Trump, on the other, faced massive public backlash for his initial response to the events in Charlottesville—ones in which he said “We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry, and violence, on many sides. On many sides.” In previously unscheduled remarks delivered on Monday, Trump declared that racism is “evil” and denounced the KKK, neo-Nazis, and white supremacists.