Trump lashes out at 'alt-left' in Charlottesville, says 'fine people on both sides'
WASHINGTON - President Donald Trump lashed out about the criticism of his initial statement about the Charlottesville violence today and quickly went on to blame both sides of protestors for the conflict, adding that there were “very fine people” in both the group of white supremacists and white nationalists as well as the counterprotesters.
“I think there is blame on both sides. You look at both sides. I think there is blame object on both sides,” Trump said during remarks in Trump Tower today.
“You had some very bad people in that group. You also had some very fine people on both sides,” he said.
Trump also defended his initial statement that he made about the violence on Saturday, saying it "was a fine statement" and that he wanted to make sure that he had the facts before speaking again on the issue, which happened on Monday when he made a second statement from the White House.
Trump took issue with a reporter's characterization of part of the crowd being part of the so-called alt-right.
"When you say the alt-right, you define it. Go ahead. Define it for me," he said.
He went on to question why the statue of Civil War Gen. Robert E. Lee, which prompted the protest in the first place, was being removed.
When asked about his view of the driver of the car that plowed into a crowd of counterprotesters, killing a 32-year-old woman and injuring others, Trump called the man a murderer and "a disgrace to himself".
At one point during the press conference, Trump said that he "didn't know David Duke was there," but Trump's remarks appeared to please Duke, the former Louisiana lawmaker who was once imperial wizard of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan.
Shortly after the press conference finished, Duke tweeted: "Thank you President Trump for your honesty & courage to tell the truth about #Charlottesville & condemn the leftist terrorists in BLM/Antifa," he wrote, appearing to reference Black Lives Matter and the anti-facist counterprotest movement.