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Trump Delivers Unity Speech Before Veterans Group in Nevada

  • VOA News

President Donald Trump speaks to the national convention of the American Legion in Reno, Nevada, Aug. 23, 2017.

President Donald Trump issued an appeal for a more unified nation during a speech Wednesday in Reno, Nevada, saying, "It is time to heal the wounds that divide us."

In remarks delivered to the national convention of the American Legion, a wartime veterans group, Trump said, "We are not defined by the color of our skin, the figure on our paycheck or the party of our politics."

Instead, Trump said, "We are defined by our shared humanity, by our citizenship and this magnificent nation and by the love that fills our hearts."

The remarks came one day after Trump used a speech in Phoenix, Arizona, to lash out at the media again for its coverage of his response to the deadly violence at a recent protest organized by neo-Nazis and white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia. Trump was broadly criticized for blaming both sides for violence, in which Heather Heyer, 32, was killed when a man associated with the white nationalists plowed his car into a crowd of counterprotesters.

WATCH: Excerpts from Trump's Arizona speech

On Wednesday, the president recapped his Phoenix appearance in a Twitter post with yet another attack against the media.

"Last night in Phoenix I read the things from my statements on Charlottesville that the Fake News Media didn't cover fairly. People got it!" he wrote.

In another tweet Wednesday, Trump assailed Jeff Flake, saying the junior Republican senator from Arizona, with whom Trump has had a long-running feud, was not strong on crime and immigration control. Flake released a new book, Conscience of a Conservative, that is critical of Trump; he wrote that "conservatism has been compromised" by a "stew of celebrity and authoritarianism."

Trump appeared to have responded by encouraging a primary election challenger to Flake, who is running for re-election next year.

In part, the tweet said, "Not a fan of Jeff Flake, weak on crime & border!"

The tone of Trump's speeches have been known to vary greatly over brief periods, as it did when he delivered an address Monday on his long-awaited military strategy in Afghanistan. The speech struck a conciliatory tone, with Trump proclaiming the U.S. must "return to a country that is not at war with itself at home."

A number of progressive protest groups indicated they would gather to meet Trump when he arrived at the Reno-Sparks Convention Center. Organizers emphasized the protests would be peaceful.

After the Reno address, Trump signed legislation that would streamline the process veterans must undergo to appeal claims for disability benefits with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. The White House says more than 470,000 veterans are awaiting decisions on their appeals.

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