President Donald Trump reiterated his claim that “both sides” were to blame for the recent violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, during a chaotic press conference on Tuesday, August 15.
“I think there is blame on both sides,” Trump, 71, told reporters from the lobby of Trump Tower in New York City. “I have no doubt about it, and you don’t have any doubt about it either. … You had some very bad people in that group, but you also had people that were very fine people on both sides. I saw the same pictures as you did.”
The former Celebrity Apprentice host’s comments were a far cry from his prepared remarks at the White House just one day earlier, when he called neo-Nazis, white supremacists and Ku Klux Klan members “criminals and thugs.” That statement came after both Republicans and Democrats criticized him for saying “many sides” were to blame for the violent riots on Saturday, August 12.
During Tuesday’s press conference, Trump defended his 48-hour delay in denouncing the white supremacists, saying he “wanted to know the facts” before speaking out. “I wanted to make sure, unlike most politicians, that what I said was correct, not make a quick statement,” he said before calling his initial remarks a “fine statement.”
The president then referred to the driver of the car that drove through a group of protestors as a “murderer.” The attack killed one woman, 32-year-old Heather Heyer, and injured 19 other people.
“You can call it terrorism, you can call it murder. You can call it whatever you want,” Trump said. “The driver of the car is a murderer and what he did was a horrible, horrible, inexcusable thing.”
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