On Friday, Trump addressed his infamous comment about “very fine people” on “both sides” of the rally, saying he handled the issue “perfectly.”
“If you look at what I said, you will see that question was answered perfectly,” Trump said outside the White House before heading to Indiana for a National Rifle Association event. “And I was talking about people that went because they felt very strongly about the monument to Robert E. Lee, a great general.”
“Whether you like it or not, he was one of the great generals,” Trump continued. “I’ve spoken to many generals here right at the White House, and many people thought of the generals, they think he was maybe their favorite general. People were there protesting the taking down of the monument of Robert E. Lee. Everybody knows that.”
It’s true that a statue of the Confederate general was at the center of the protest that turned deadly on August 12, 2017. But the most indelible images of the event were of young white men carrying tiki torches chanting “Jews will not replace us,” and a white nationalist plowing his car into a crowd of people, killing counter-protester Heather Heyer.
A few days after the rally, Trump infamously said there were “very fine people on both sides.”
The episode has been thrust back into the headlines this week after former Vice President Joe Biden referenced Trump’s remarks in his campaign announcement video. Biden said the moment Trump referenced “very fine people,” he knew the threat to the country was “unlike any I had ever seen in my lifetime.”
Trump defends his comment about "very fine people" on "both sides" of Charlottesville white nationalist rally pic.twitter.com/3jaiD15tXe
— TPM Livewire (@TPMLiveWire) April 26, 2019