At a press conference in New York City’s Trump Tower, Donald Trump became angry and defensive while discussing the ‘Unite the Right’ rally in Charlottesville, Virginia over the weekend. Organized by white supremacists, neo-Nazis, and members of the KKK, the events resulted in one person dead and several others injured.
Many people on both sides of the political aisle criticized Trump’s remarks addressing Charlottesville. He first blamed ‘many sides’ and it took him several days to specifically condemn neo-Nazis and white nationalists.
At the conference, which can be watched in its entirety below, Trump defended his comments by claiming he was waiting for the ‘facts’.
‘Before I make a statement, I need the facts. So I don’t want to rush into a statement. So making the statement when I made it was excellent,’ he continued. ‘If the press were not fake, and if it was honest, the press would have said what I said was very nice.’
Bizarre view of Charlottesville rally
After Trump continued to slam the press and go on a tirade about facts, the conference took an even more bizarre turn.
When a reporter asked Trump about Senator John McCain’s comments on the alt-right perpetrating the rally, he turned the focus to the ‘alt-left’.
‘What about the alt-left?’ he asked. ‘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, swinging clubs in their hands? Do they have any problem? I think they do. So that was a horrible, horrible day — wait a minute, I’m not finished, fake news — That was a horrible day.’
Continuing his statements, interlaced with referring to reporters as dishonest, he continued to double-down on the idea both sides were to blame and both sides were violent. He also defended the alt-right’s reason for being there, protesting the removal of a statue of Civil War figure Robert E. Lee, by comparing Lee to figures like George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, asking where it ends.
‘But you had many people in that group,’ Trump continues, referring to the alt-right. ‘Other than neo-Nazis and white nationalists, okay, and the press has treated them absolutely unfairly. Now, in the other group also, you had some fine people, but you also had trouble-makers.’
Twitter slams Trump’s press conference
As is the norm now, Twitter was quick to voice their opinions of the 20-minute conference.
The 25th Ammendment today. pic.twitter.com/HXf2mv38EL
— Josh Gad (@joshgad) August 15, 2017
— Will Arnett™ (@arnettwill) August 15, 2017
— Norman Lear (@TheNormanLear) August 15, 2017
"Look there was violence on both sides" – Trump on WW2 probably
— josh groban (@joshgroban) August 15, 2017
Today is the day Donald Trump became president of the Confederacy.
— The Daily Show (@TheDailyShow) August 15, 2017
One good thing about that abomination of a speech: it's now impossible for any Trump supporter to pretend they don't know what he is.
— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) August 15, 2017
Impeach this bad man. https://t.co/yZiSnY7boD
— Lin-Manuel Miranda (@Lin_Manuel) August 15, 2017
Republican Marco Rubio wrote a thread condemning white supremacists, saying they must take 100% of the blame.
The organizers of events which inspired & led to #charlottesvilleterroristattack are 100% to blame for a number of reasons. 1/6
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) August 15, 2017
Even Fox criticized Trump’s statements.
Fox News (FOX NEWS!!) goes HAM on Trump. pic.twitter.com/5FRFLfgbZi
— Joanna Robinson (@jowrotethis) August 15, 2017