President Donald Trump went off the rails on Tuesday during his remarks on the violent “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, VA over the weekend, and seemingly identified with neo-Nazis and white supremacists in the process.
Trump, reversing an earlier statement calling out the Nazis and declaring racism as “evil,” said he was laying blame on “both sides,” which echoed his comment over the weekend that there was violence and bigotry “on many sides.”
While discussing alleged violence by the “alt-left” that he believes started the chaos (which is untrue), it appeared for a moment that Trump spoke as if he was at the protest.
“Okay, what about the alt-left that came charging at us?” Trump appeared to have said to reporters gathered at Trump Tower. Based on initial transcripts, Trump seemingly placed himself among the torch-bearing, swastika flag-waving, KKK-saluting rioters in the streets of Charlottesville, against anti-fascists, anti-racists and clergymembers.
However, Politico and other media organizations are now changing their transcripts to reflect that the statement said “charging at ’em,” but given his defense of the fascists, the notion no longer appears to be that much of a leap.
— Brandon Wall (@Walldo) August 15, 2017
This updated their prior account of the remarks:
“What about the alt-left that came charging at us—excuse me—as you say, the alt-right?”
Us. He said us.https://t.co/830qxm9w7q
— Catherynne Valente (@catvalente) August 15, 2017
But the damage was already done.
Did I see Trump just go openly Nazi apologist? We. Are. In. trouble. He is unfit for the job. He must be removed.
— Malcolm Nance (@MalcolmNance) August 15, 2017
Trump did go on to say that there were some “very fine people” among the right-wing extremist protesters.
"Very fine people" do not participate in rallies with groups chanting racist and anti-Semitic slogans and displaying vile symbols of hate.
— Justin Amash (@justinamash) August 15, 2017
Trump: "I think there's blame on both sides… you also had people that were very fine people on both sides." (via ABC) pic.twitter.com/nXoNXqo5yT
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) August 15, 2017
If it was “us,” Trump had said, he would have been placing himself in the same camp that includes James Alex Fields, who used his vehicle as a weapon to plow into a crowd of counter-protesters, killing 32-year old Heather Heyer and injuring around 19 others. Us as in “us vs. them,” the anti-racists, anti-fascists and ordinary American citizens who do not go around making Nazi salutes or marching with torches in hand.