Obama’s Charlottesville tweet becomes most liked ever

The former president’s response to violence in Virginia surpasses Ariana Grande's tweet about England concert bombing.

Terry Collins
Terry Collins Staff Reporter, CNET News
Terry writes about social networking giants and legal issues in Silicon Valley for CNET News. He joined CNET News from the Associated Press, where he spent the six years covering major breaking news in the San Francisco Bay Area. Before the AP, Terry worked at the Star Tribune in Minneapolis and the Kansas City Star. Terry's a native of Chicago.
2 min read

Barack Obama still resonates with the masses.

A Saturday tweet by the former US president has became the most liked in Twitter history, according to Twitter, reaching more 2.7 million likes late Tuesday. The tweet, which quotes late South African President Nelson Mandela, followed white supremacist violence in Charlottesville, Virginia. 

"No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin or his background or his religion," the tweet reads. It was posted along with a photo of Obama looking up to a window of children of different ethnicities and races.  

The quote has also been retweeted more than 1.1 million times, the fifth most retweeted ever, according to the social network.     

On Monday, Obama's tweet surpassed talk show host Ellen DeGeneres' 2014 Oscars selfie tweet, which is No. 3 with 2.4 million likes. 

Some 24 hours later, the Obama tweet became the most liked ever taking the top spot from pop star Ariana Grande's tweet with 2.7 million likes. Her heartfelt tweet came in response to a terrorist bombing that killed 22 people after she performed a concert in Manchester, England, in May.  

Obama breaks Twitter record with Mandela quote

Former President Barack Obama now has the most liked tweet of all time: http://cnet.co/2uPGaM3

Posted by CNET on Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Obama's tweet was likely further liked following comments made by President Donald Trump during an eyebrow-raising news conference Tuesday in further response to the weekend violence in Virginia.  

The former president's tweet, which quotes a line from Mandela's autobiography, "Long Walk to Freedom," came after Heather Heyer, 32, of Charlottesville was killed and 19 others were injured when a car rammed into a crowd of counter-protesters at a white supremacist rally. Two police officers also died Saturday when their helicopter monitoring the rally crashed.

In contrast to the reaction to Obama, Trump has been loudly criticized for his initial response to the tragedy that condemned violence but stated "many sides" were involved in it. Facing intense scrutiny, Trump on Monday specifically denounced Ku Klux Klan members, neo-Nazis and white supremacists as "criminals and thugs." That led to three CEOs, including Intel head Brian Krzanich, resigning from Trump's manufacturing council in response to Trump's overall response.

First published, Aug. 15, 9:27 a.m. PT.
Update, 7:56 p.m. PT: Adds that Obama's tweet became the most liked ever.

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