President Donald Trump reversed his position again regarding the Charlottesville rally, this time echoing his sentiment from over the weekend that “many sides” were responsible for the violence that took place during the fascist rally.
On Tuesday, the president said there was “blame on both sides” for the violence that left one counter-protester dead and around 20 injured when neo-Nazis, white nationalists and fascists ran wild in the streets during the “Unite the Right” rally. These unexpected remarks countered Trump’s Monday statement, in which he condemned racism as “evil,” and appeared to reluctantly lay blame with the neo-Nazis and white supremacists.
“What about the alt-left that came charging at the — as you say, the alt-right?” Trump said during the press conference, focusing on the fact that the counter-protesters lacked a permit. “Do they have any semblance of guilt? What about the fact they came charging with clubs in their hands, swinging clubs? Do they have any problem? I think they do. As far as I am concerned, that was a horrible, horrible day.”
Neo-Nazis and Klansmen celebrated the president’s unexpected reversal on social media. Former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke, who was at the rally to protest the removal of a statue of Confederate general Robert E. Lee, thanked Trump on Twitter.
Duke thanked Trump for his “honest & courage to tell the truth about Charlottesville & condemn the leftist terrorists in BLM/Antifa.”
— David Duke (@DrDavidDuke) August 15, 2017
The moment wasn’t lost on journalists watching the press conference, including Editor and Publisher of TakingPointsMemo Josh Marshall, who came to the same frightening conclusion.
Neo-Nazis to Trump: Appreciate the Congrats.
— Josh Marshall (@joshtpm) August 15, 2017
Watch Trump’s full remarks on the violence in Charlottesville from Tuesday afternoon below: