On his way back from a visit to Florida, President Donald Trump spoke with reporters on Air Force One and stuck with his controversial view that “both sides” were responsible for the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia last month. Trump cited violence involving the “Antifa” group, adding “A lot of people are saying and people have actually written, ‘Gee, Trump may have a point.’”
Trump was asked about his Wednesday meeting with South Carolina Senator Tim Scott, the only African American Republican in the U.S. Senate. He said it was a “great talk” and he supports Scott’s legislation to “get people into certain areas and building and constructing and putting people to work. I told him yesterday that’s a concept I can support very easily.”
However, Trump once again stood by his view that there were protesters on “both sides” who deserve the blame for Charlottesville.
“I think especially in light of the advent of Antifa, if you look at what’s going on there. You have some pretty bad dudes on the other side also and essentially that’s what I said,” Trump said Thursday. “Now because of what’s happened since then with Antifa. When you look at really what’s happened since Charlottesville, a lot of people are saying and people have actually written, ‘Gee, Trump may have a point.’ I said there’s some very bad people on the other side also.”
After his meeting with Trump, Scott told CBS News that Trump has “obviously reflected” on the original Charlottesville comments that sparked outrage from both sides of the aisle.
“He’s obviously reflected on what he has said, on his intentions and the perception of those comments,” Scott told the network. “I’ll let him discuss how he feels about it, but he was certainly very clear that the perception that he received on his comments was not exactly what he intended with those comments.”
On August 12, Heather Heyer was killed and over a dozen other people were injured by a car that drove into a crowd of counter-protesters at an event organized by the alt-right, white supremacists and neo-Nazis. The far-right groups were protesting the planned removal of a Robert E. Lee statue.
Trump was criticized for not immediately condemning the racist groups, instead suggesting that there was blame “on many sides.” Then, Trump issued another statement condemning the groups outright, but he reverted to his original position during a marathon press conference on August 15.
“OK, but what about the alt-left that came charging at them?” Trump asked at the time. “What about the alt-left that came charging at the, as you say, the alt-right? Do they have any semblance of guilt? Let me ask you this, what about the fact they came charging with clubs in their hands, swinging clubs? Do they have any problem? I think they do.” Trump also added that there were “very fine people on both sides.”
Earlier this week, the House and Senate both passed a bipartisan resolution condemning white supremacists and sent it to Trump to sign.