Trump Says There Were “Very Fine People on Both Sides” in Charlottesville

At a press conference, the president refused to blame the violence on white nationalists and Nazis.

Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP

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During an intense back-and-forth with reporters on Tuesday afternoon, President Donald Trump came close to defending the demonstrators who gathered with white nationalists and neo-Nazis to protest the removal of a Confederate statue in Charlottesville, Virginia, this weekend. There were “very fine people on both sides,” Trump insisted. 

The press conference at Trump Tower was originally scheduled so Trump could discuss his administration’s infrastructure plans. Instead, it became a series of chaotic moments, as the president fiercely defended his initial response to the white supremacist protests in Charlottesville that led to violence and death and once again blamed the “many sides” of the conflict. He claimed members of the “alt-left” were also responsible for the violence.

“I didn’t wait long,” Trump said of his response. “I wanted to make sure unlike most politicians that what I said was correct and not make a quick statement. It was a fine statement.”

“I didn’t know David Duke was there,” Trump continued. “I wanted to see the facts.”

“What about the alt-left that came charging at the, as you say, alt-right?” Trump also remarked. “Do they have any semblance of guilt?”

The president appeared to criticize the movement to remove Confederate statues—wondering aloud how far proponents of the removals would go. “Was George Washington a slave owner?” he asked. “Are we going to take down statues to George Washington? What about Thomas Jefferson?”

While walking away from the reporters at the end of the press conference, Trump boasted he owned one of the biggest wineries in the country and noted it is in Charlottesville. The winery’s website, though, says that it is not owned by Trump or affiliated with him. The company points out that it is owned by Eric Trump Wine Manufacturing.  

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1c3IQUnyGps

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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