2019-05-12 18:23:32 UTC
All WC defenders are liars.
And all conspiracy believers are kooks.
But Trump would say that there are fine people on both sides.
So liars are fine people and conspiracy kooks are fine people.
That's one way that he never has to take sides and condemn one side or
the other. And Trump himself is a liar AND a conspiracy kook.
Here is the full text of his remarks about the Charlottesville incident:
In Context: Donald Trump’s ‘very fine people on both sides’ remarks
By Angie Drobnic Holan on Friday, April 26th, 2019 at 4:11 p.m.
President Donald Trump speaks to the media in the lobby of Trump Tower
on Aug. 15, 2017 in New York. (AP)
President Donald Trump speaks to the media in the lobby of Trump Tower
on Aug. 15, 2017 in New York. (AP)
On Aug. 15, 2017, President Donald Trump held a press conference to
discuss an executive order he had signed on infrastructure permitting.
Reporters shortly began asking questions about Trump’s initial response
to violent protests in Charlottesville, Va. It was at this press
conference that Trump said that "you also had people that were very fine
people, on both sides."
On April 25, 2019, former Vice President Joe Biden declared his 2020
candidacy for the Democratic nomination and the presidency by recalling
the events in Charlottesville and Trump’s comments. "With those words,
the president of the United States assigned a moral equivalence between
those spreading hate and those with the courage to stand against it,"
The next day, Trump responded, saying "If you look at what I said, you
will see that that question was answered perfectly. 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 also said he would defeat Biden
We wanted to look at Trump’s comments in their original context. Here is
a transcript of the questions Trump answered that addressed the
Charlottesville controversy in the days after it happened. (His specific
remarks about "very fine people, on both sides" come in the final third
of the transcript.)
• • •
Reporter: "Let me ask you, Mr. President, why did you wait so long to
Trump: "I didn’t wait long. I didn’t wait long."
Reporter: "Forty-eight hours."
Trump: "I wanted to make sure, unlike most politicians, that what I said
was correct -- not make a quick statement. The statement I made on
Saturday, the first statement, was a fine statement. But you don’t make
statements that direct unless you know the facts. It takes a little
while to get the facts. You still don’t know the facts. And it’s a very,
very important process to me, and it’s a very important statement.
"So I don’t want to go quickly and just make a statement for the sake of
making a political statement. I want to know the facts. If you go back to --
Reporter: "So you had to (inaudible) white supremacists?"
Trump: "I brought it. I brought it. I brought it."
Reporter: "Was it terrorism, in your opinion, what happened?"
Trump: "As I said on -- remember, Saturday -- we condemn in the
strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry, and
violence. It has no place in America. And then it went on from there.
Now, here’s the thing --"
Trump: "Excuse me. Excuse me. Take it nice and easy. Here’s the thing:
When I make a statement, I like to be correct. I want the facts. This
event just happened. In fact, a lot of the event didn’t even happen yet,
as we were speaking. This event just happened.
"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.
In fact, the young woman, who I hear was a fantastic young woman, and it
was on NBC -- her mother wrote me and said through, I guess, Twitter,
social media, the nicest things. And I very much appreciated that. I
hear she was a fine -- really, actually, an incredible young woman. But
her mother, on Twitter, thanked me for what I said.
"And honestly, if the press were not fake, and if it was honest, the
press would have said what I said was very nice. But unlike you, and
unlike -- excuse me, unlike you and unlike the media, before I make a
statement, I like to know the facts."
Reporter: "The CEO of Walmart said you missed a critical opportunity to
help bring the country together. Did you?"
Trump: "Not at all. I think the country -- look, you take a look. I’ve
created over a million jobs since I’m President. The country is booming.
The stock market is setting records. We have the highest employment
numbers we’ve ever had in the history of our country. We’re doing record
business. We have the highest levels of enthusiasm. So the head of
Walmart, who I know -- who’s a very nice guy -- was making a political
statement. I mean -- I’d do it the same way. And you know why? Because I
want to make sure, when I make a statement, that the statement is
correct. And there was no way -- there was no way of making a correct
statement that early. I had to see the facts, unlike a lot of reporters.
Unlike a lot of reporters --
Reporter: "Nazis were there."
Reporter: "David Duke was there."
Trump: "I didn’t know David Duke was there. I wanted to see the facts.
And the facts, as they started coming out, were very well stated. In
fact, everybody said, ‘His statement was beautiful. If he would have
made it sooner, that would have been good.’ I couldn’t have made it
sooner because I didn’t know all of the facts. Frankly, people still
don’t know all of the facts.
"It was very important -- excuse me, excuse me -- it was very important
to me to get the facts out and correctly. Because if I would have made a
fast statement -- and the first statement was made without knowing much,
other than what we were seeing. The second statement was made after,
with knowledge, with great knowledge. There are still things -- excuse
me -- there are still things that people don’t know. I want to make a
statement with knowledge. I wanted to know the facts."
Reporter: "Two questions. Was this terrorism? And can you tell us how
you’re feeling about your chief strategist, Stephen Bannon?"
Trump: "Well, I think the driver of the car is a disgrace to himself,
his family, and this country. And that is -- you can call it terrorism.
You can call it murder. You can call it whatever you want. I would just
call it as the fastest one to come up with a good verdict. That’s what
I’d call it. Because there is a question: Is it murder? Is it
terrorism? And then you get into legal semantics. The driver of the car
is a murderer. And what he did was a horrible, horrible, inexcusable thing.
Reporter: "Can you tell us broadly what your -- do you still have
confidence in Steve?"
Trump: "Well, we’ll see. Look, look -- I like Mr. Bannon. He’s a friend
of mine. But Mr. Bannon came on very late. You know that. I went through
17 senators, governors, and I won all the primaries. Mr. Bannon came on
very much later than that. And I like him, he’s a good man. He is not a
racist, I can tell you that. He’s a good person. He actually gets very
unfair press in that regard. But we’ll see what happens with Mr. Bannon.
But he’s a good person, and I think the press treats him, frankly, very
Reporter: "Sen. (John) McCain said that the alt-right is behind these
attacks, and he linked that same group to those who perpetrated the
attack in Charlottesville."
Trump: "Well, I don’t know. I can’t tell you. I’m sure Senator McCain
must know what he’s talking about. But when you say the alt-right,
define alt-right to me. You define it. Go ahead."
Reporter: "Well, I’m saying, as Senator --"
Trump: "No, define it for me. Come on, let’s go. Define it for me."
Reporter: "Senator McCain defined them as the same group --"
Trump: "Okay, what about the alt-left that came charging at -- excuse
me, 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 that they came charging with
clubs in their hands, swinging clubs? Do they have any problem? I think
they do. As far as I’m concerned, that was a horrible, horrible day.
Wait a minute. I’m not finished. I’m not finished, fake news. That was a
horrible day --
" I will tell you something. I watched those very closely -- much more
closely than you people watched it. And you have -- you had a group on
one side that was bad, and you had a group on the other side that was
also very violent. And nobody wants to say that, but I’ll say it right
now. You had a group -- you had a group on the other side that came
charging in, without a permit, and they were very, very violent."
Reporter: "Do you think that what you call the alt-left is the same as
Trump: "Those people -- all of those people – excuse me, I’ve condemned
neo-Nazis. I’ve condemned many different groups. But not all of those
people were neo-Nazis, believe me. Not all of those people were white
supremacists by any stretch. Those people were also there because they
wanted to protest the taking down of a statue of Robert E. Lee."
Reporter: "Should that statue be taken down?"
Trump: "Excuse me. If you take a look at some of the groups, and you see
-- and you’d know it if you were honest reporters, which in many cases
you’re not -- but many of those people were there to protest the taking
down of the statue of Robert E. Lee.
"So this week it’s Robert E. Lee. I noticed that Stonewall Jackson is
coming down. I wonder, is it George Washington next week? And is it
Thomas Jefferson the week after? You know, you really do have to ask
yourself, where does it stop?
"But they were there to protest -- excuse me, if you take a look, the
night before they were there to protest the taking down of the statue of
Robert E. Lee. Infrastructure question. Go ahead."
Reporter: "Should the statues of Robert E. Lee stay up?"
Trump: "I would say that’s up to a local town, community, or the federal
government, depending on where it is located."
Reporter: "How concerned are you about race relations in America? And do
you think things have gotten worse or better since you took office?"
Trump: "I think they’ve gotten better or the same. Look, they’ve been
frayed for a long time. And you can ask President Obama about that,
because he’d make speeches about it. But I believe that the fact that I
brought in -- it will be soon -- millions of jobs -- you see where
companies are moving back into our country -- I think that’s going to
have a tremendous, positive impact on race relations.
"We have companies coming back into our country. We have two car
companies that just announced. We have Foxconn in Wisconsin just
announced. We have many companies, I say, pouring back into the country.
I think that’s going to have a huge, positive impact on race relations.
You know why? It’s jobs. What people want now, they want jobs. They want
great jobs with good pay, and when they have that, you watch how race
relations will be.
"And I’ll tell you, we’re spending a lot of money on the inner cities.
We’re fixing the inner cities. We’re doing far more than anybody has
done with respect to the inner cities. It’s a priority for me, and it’s
Reporter: "Mr. President, are you putting what you’re calling the
alt-left and white supremacists on the same moral plane?"
Trump: "I’m not putting anybody on a moral plane. What I’m saying is
this: You had a group on one side and you had a group on the other, and
they came at each other with clubs -- and it was vicious and it was
horrible. And it was a horrible thing to watch.
"But there is another side. There was a group on this side. You can call
them the left -- you just called them the left -- that came violently
attacking the other group. So you can say what you want, but that’s the
way it is.
Reporter: (Inaudible) "… both sides, sir. You said there was hatred,
there was violence on both sides. Are the --"
Trump: "Yes, I think there’s blame on both sides. If you look at both
sides -- I think there’s blame on both sides. And I have no doubt about
it, and you don’t have any doubt about it either. And if you reported it
accurately, you would say."
Reporter: "The neo-Nazis started this. They showed up in Charlottesville
to protest --"
Trump: "Excuse me, excuse me. They didn’t put themselves -- and you had
some very bad people in that group, but you also had people that were
very fine people, on both sides. You had people in that group. Excuse
me, excuse me. I saw the same pictures as you did. You had people in
that group that were there to protest the taking down of, to them, a
very, very important statue and the renaming of a park from Robert E.
Lee to another name."
Reporter: "George Washington and Robert E. Lee are not the same."
Trump: "George Washington was a slave owner. Was George Washington a
slave owner? So will George Washington now lose his status? Are we going
to take down -- excuse me, are we going to take down statues to George
Washington? How about Thomas Jefferson? What do you think of Thomas
Jefferson? You like him?"
Reporter: "I do love Thomas Jefferson."
Trump: "Okay, good. Are we going to take down the statue? Because he was
a major slave owner. Now, are we going to take down his statue?
"So you know what, it’s fine. You’re changing history. You’re changing
culture. And you had people -- and I’m not talking about the neo-Nazis
and the white nationalists -- because they should be condemned totally.
But you had many people in that group 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 troublemakers, and you see them come with the black outfits and with
the helmets, and with the baseball bats. You had a lot of bad people in
the other group."
Reporter: "Sir, I just didn’t understand what you were saying. You were
saying the press has treated white nationalists unfairly? I just don’t
understand what you were saying."
Trump: "No, no. There were people in that rally -- and I looked the
night before -- if you look, there were people protesting very quietly
the taking down of the statue of Robert E. Lee. I’m sure in that group
there were some bad ones. The following day it looked like they had some
rough, bad people -- neo-Nazis, white nationalists, whatever you want to
"But you had a lot of people in that group that were there to innocently
protest, and very legally protest -- because, I don’t know if you know,
they had a permit. The other group didn’t have a permit. So I only tell
you this: There are two sides to a story. I thought what took place was
a horrible moment for our country -- a horrible moment. But there are
two sides to the country.
"Does anybody have a final --
Reporter: "What makes you think you can get an infrastructure bill? You
didn’t get health care --
Trump: "Well, you know, I’ll tell you. We came very close with health
care. Unfortunately, John McCain decided to vote against it at the last
minute. You’ll have to ask John McCain why he did that. But we came very
close to health care. We will end up getting health care. But we’ll get
the infrastructure. And actually, infrastructure is something that I
think we’ll have bipartisan support on. I actually think Democrats will
go along with the infrastructure."
Reporter: "Mr. President, have you spoken to the family of the victim of
the car attack?"
Trump: "No, I’ll be reaching out. I’ll be reaching out."
Reporter: "When will you be reaching out?"
Trump: "I thought that the statement put out -- the mother’s statement I
thought was a beautiful statement. I will tell you, it was something
that I really appreciated. I thought it was terrific. And, really, under
the kind of stress that she’s under and the heartache that she’s under,
I thought putting out that statement, to me, was really something. I
won’t forget it.
"Thank you, all, very much. Thank you. Thank you."
Share The Facts
"You look at what I said, you will see that that question was answered
perfectly. And I was talking about people that went because they felt
very strongly about the monument to Robert E. Lee, a great general."
remarks to the press – Friday, April 26, 2019