Trump says both sides to blame amid Charlottesville backlash
NEW YORK — In a news conference in the lobby of Trump Tower, President Donald Trump blamed the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, Saturday on both sides of the conflict, equating the white supremacists on one side with the “alt-left” on the other side.
“I think there is blame on both sides,” he said.
“What about the alt-left that came charging at, as you say, the alt-right, do they have any semblance of guilt?” Trump said. “What about the fact they came charging with clubs in hands, swinging clubs, do they have any problem, I think they do.”
He added, “You had a group on one side that was bad and you had a group on the other side that was also very violent. Nobody wants to say it, but I will say it right now.”
Trump defended his 48-hour delay in denouncing white supremacists, arguing that he took his time because he didn’t know the facts.
The president subsequently called the driver of the car that drove through a crowd, killing one woman, a “murderer” and again blamed both sides for the violence.
“You can call it terrorism, you can call it murder. You can call it whatever you want,” he said. “The driver of the car is a murderer and what he did was a horrible, horrible, inexcusable thing.”
“I didn’t wait long. I didn’t wait long. I wanted to make sure, unlike most politicians, that what I said was correct, not make a quick statement,” Trump said. “The statement I made on Saturday, the first statement, was a fine statement, but you don’t make statements that direct until you know the facts. It takes a little while to get the facts. You still don’t know the facts and it is a very, very important process to me. It is a very important statement.”