Trump Defends White-Nationalist Protesters: 'Some Very Fine People on Both Sides' - 2017-08-15
President Trump defended the white nationalists who protested in Charlottesville on Tuesday, saying they included "some very fine people," while expressing sympathy for their demonstration against the removal of a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee. It was a strikingly different message from the prepared statement he had delivered on Monday, and a reversion to his initial response over the weekend.
Speaking in the lobby of Trump Tower at what had been billed as a statement on infrastructure, a combative Trump defended his slowness to condemn white nationalists and neo-Nazis after the melee in central Virginia, which ended in the death of one woman and injuries to dozens of others, and compared the tearing down of Confederate monuments to the hypothetical removal of monuments to the Founding Fathers. He also said that counterprotesters deserve an equal amount of blame for the violence.
"What about the alt-left that came charging at, as you say, at the alt-right?" Trump said. "Do they have any semblance of guilt?"
"I've condemned neo-Nazis. I've condemned many different groups. But not all of those people were neo-Nazis, believe me," he said.
"You had many people in that group other than neo-Nazis and white nationalists," Trump said. "The press has treated them absolutely unfairly."