Earlier today, Aug. 15, at a press conference on infrastructure held in Trump Tower, US President Donald Trump reverted back to his first statement on the Charlottesville violence, which he released from his Bedminster, NJ golf resort, in which he condemned “on many sides.” When he was asked about his two statements , after getting defensive, Trump blamed the “alt-left” for Charlottesville violence, doubling down on his initial remarks.
“I wanted to make sure, unlike most politicians, that what I said was correct — not make a quick statement. The statement I said on Saturday was a fine statement … it takes awhile to get the facts, you still don’t know the facts, and it’s a very important process for me”.
The president’s tone and demeanor only became more pronounced as other reporters asked him to clarify his thoughts on Charlottesville.
That’s when he took the time to blame what he called the “alt-left” for this weekend’s violence.
“What about the alt-left that came charging at the, as you say, the alt-right? Do they have any semblance of guilt? … What about the fact they came charging with clubs in their hands swinging, in their hands? 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.
Taken in context with his initial statement condemning violence on “many sides,” Trump’s rambling defense seems to fall in line with the “both sides” rhetoric that gives equal blame to the “alt-right” (white supremacists) and what some have dubbed the “alt-left,” or leftist, anti-racist protesters sometimes associated with Antifa.
While alt-right is a term coined by white nationalists to make their views more “palatable,” the alt-left is a term that attempts to equate far-right, white supremacist political views with leftist politics and tries to yoke leftist views to the racism of the alt-right and the much-derided protest tactics of Antifa, a loose collective of anti-fascists.
But Trump’s comments on the purpose of both the University of Virginia rally on Aug. 11 and the Charlottesville rally on Aug. 12 — which led to the death of one anti-racist counter-protester — reveals a lot about how he really feels.
Trump also said:
“Not all of those people were n*******s, 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, Robert E. Lee. You take a look at some of the groups and you’d see — and you’d know if you were honest reporters, which in many cases you’re not. […]”
Read in this context, it seems, then, that he is putting the responsibility of this weekend’s violence on the phantom of the “alt-left.” After all, the “alt-right” was just peacefully protesting the removal of a statue venerating a slave-owning Confederate general.
The head Merck & Co Inc, one of the world’s biggest pharmaceutical companies, was the first to quit a presidential business panel , saying he was taking a stand against intolerance and extremism.
The chief executives of two other prominent companies – sportswear manufacturer Under Armour and semiconductor chip maker Intel Corp – followed suit hours later.
On Tuesday, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka and Deputy Chief of Staff Thea Lee resigned on Tuesday from President Donald Trump’s manufacturing council, slamming his remarks.
Trump Finally Offers Strong Response To Charlottesville But His Initial Response Resonates
A publication actually praised Trump’s initial reaction due to its lack of specificity: “Trump comments were good. He didn’t attack us,” the publication said. “Nothing specific against us.”
On Monday, Aug. 14, President Donald Trump finally offered a forceful response to the awful events that transpired in Charlottesville, Virginia, on Aug. 11 and 12.
Tweets about Trump’s latest Charlottesville speech show his response might be too little, too late. Trump’s advisers reportedly pressured him to make these remarks after widespread criticism over his initial response to the events in Charlottesville, in which the president blamed “many sides” for the violence that ultimately led to one death.
Many felt Trump should’ve been far less vague in denouncing white supremacy. This helps explain why so many have taken to Twitter to express their lack of satisfaction with Trump’s latest comments on Charlottesville.
Many on Twitter seem determined to let Trump know they won’t forget his initial response to Charlottesville.
Ana Navarro ✔ @ananavarro
If Trump had given speech like this on Saturday, we’d have commended him. On Monday, it does nothing for me. Zero. I suspect, I’m not alone.
11:46 AM – Aug 14, 2017
Hilary Davidson ✔ @hilarydavidson
After 2 days of intense pressure to condemn white supremacists, Trump finally gulped out “Racism is evil.” Talk about too little too late.
11:54 AM – Aug 14, 2017
Simran Jeet Singh ✔ @SikhProf
Too little and too late, Mr. Trump. You emboldened each of these groups. Now it’s time to lead with your words AND your actions. 11:52 AM – Aug 14, 2017
Maria Hinojosa ✔ @Maria_Hinojosa
Feels too little, too late, too contrived, 48 hours later, too belabored. Trump White House on #Charlottesville 11:53 AM – Aug 14, 2017
Pedro da Costa ✔ @pdacosta
Trump is late to his ‘way too little way too late’ speech on the #Charlottesville terrorist attack. 11:39 AM – Aug 14, 2017
It also didn’t help Trump began his remarks about Charlottesville by bragging about the economy.
Kyle Griffin ✔ @kylegriffin1
Trump begins his statement by talking about trade deals and the economy. Nothing about Charlottesville yet. 11:40 AM – Aug 14, 2017
Dan Rather ✔ @DanRather
Was Trump’s statement too little, too late? He began by bragging about accomplishments, then briefly dealt w/talk about racism. 12:19 PM – Aug 14, 2017
Jennifer Epstein ✔ @jeneps
Trump begins his Charlottesville remarks by again boasting about the economy 11:39 AM – Aug 14, 2017
Joy Reid ✔ @JoyAnnReid
Trump opens his remarks by once again taking credit for Barack Obama’s economy. Not a great start. 11:39 AM – Aug 14, 2017
Many are also calling for people in Trump’s administration to resign or be fired over what happened in Charlottesville. This is especially true in relation to White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon, who ran the controversial publication Breitbart News before working for Trump. Bannon once referred to Breitbart as the “platform for the alt-right,” which also happens to be the group that organized the march in Charlottesville. People feel individuals in Trump’s administration, like Bannon, among others, have helped embolden white nationalists.
Alexander Nazaryan ✔ @alexnazaryan
I don’t think people will be satisfied with Trump’s condemnation of white nationalists until Bannon and Gorka are shown the door. 12:02 PM – Aug 14, 2017