Backpedaling on his prepared remarks earlier in the week, Donald Trump blamed so-called left-wing militant protesters for the deadly violence that occurred in Charlottesville, Virginia, last weekend.
In a tour de force news conference at his Trump Tower in New York City, he coined a new term for these left-wing militants as the alt-left, you know the opposite of the racist alt-right. He insisted that both sides of the protest were violent, so blame should be distributed equally.
“What about the alt-left that came charging at, as you say, the alt-right?” he asked. “Do they have any semblance of guilt?”
He said that not all of the protesters were Nazis or White supremacists, but people protesting the removal of the Confederate monument of Robert E. Lee. Trump said there were “fine people” on both sides. He didn’t stop there.
“Many of those people were there to protest the taking down of the statue of Robert E. Lee,” Mr. Trump said. “So this week, it is Robert E. Lee. I noticed that Stonewall Jackson is coming down.”
He went on to note that George Washington and Thomas Jefferson were also slave owners. “I wonder, is it George Washington next week?” Mr. Trump said rhetorically. “And is it Thomas Jefferson the week after?”
“You know, you really do have to ask yourself, where does it stop?” Trump added, who said removing the statues is the equivalent of “changing history.”
Critics challenged his “false equivalence” between White supremacists and counterprotesters. And the gravity of the President’s statements is severe and emblematic of his true feelings.
Unsurprisingly, former KKK leader David Duke applauded Trump’s remarks, tweeting “Thank you President Trump for your honesty & courage to tell the truth about #Charlottesville & condemn the leftist terrorists in BLM/Antifa.”
See some of the reactions to the President’s remarks:
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