82nd Airborne Division Issues Scathing Condemnation of White Supremacist Wearing Unit’s Hat

Hundreds of white nationalists, neo-Nazis and members of the "alt-right" march down East Market Street toward Emancipation Park during the "Unite the Right" rally
Hundreds of white nationalists, neo-Nazis and members of the "alt-right" march down East Market Street toward Emancipation Park during the "Unite the Right" rally / Getty Images

An elite paratrooper division of the U.S. Army that parachuted into Normandy on D-Day to thwart Nazi German troops publicly denounced a white supremacist protesting in Charlottesville who donned a hat bearing the unit's insignia.

The condemnation came after a photo of an older man wearing camouflage pants and a baseball cap with the seal of the 82nd Airborne Division sewn across went viral on social media in the wake of the violence that erupted between white nationalists and counter protestors in Charlottesville, Va., on Saturday. The unidentified man was photographed with his arm raised in a Ku Klux Klan solute.

The 82nd Airborne Division, whose troops were tasked with destroying vital German infrastructure in Normandy during World War II, took to Twitter on Monday to issue a blistering denunciation of the man in the photo.

"Anyone can purchase that hat. Valor is earned," one tweet read.

The unit also took issue with replies to a viral tweet of the image from former Obama administration official Brandon Friedman suggesting the man had ties to the 82nd Airborne Division.

President Donald Trump was heavily criticized over the weekend for failing to call out by name white nationals and neo-Nazis in a broader condemnation of the protests that left 32-year-old Heather Heyer dead.

On Monday, Trump explicitly condemned hate groups that participated in the violence, including the KKK and neo-Nazis, as "criminals and thugs" who are "repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans."