President Donald Trump blasted establishment and left-wing media on Tuesday afternoon for failing to report the facts on violent left-wing protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia over the weekend.
In the main lobby of Trump Tower in New York City, the president grew combative after a throng of reporters started shouting questions about why he “waited” to specifically condemn neo-Nazis and white nationalists.
“There was no way of making a correct statement that early,” he said, defending his first statement on Saturday before the facts were in. “Unlike you and unlike the media, before I make a statement, I like to know the facts.”
As reporters grew more agitated, Trump continued defending his decision and condemning the media for their one sided reporting.
Trump again denounced racist elements among the protesters, including people supporting the KKK, neo-Nazis, and white nationalists, but clarified that some of them did not identify with the most extreme elements in the crowd.
“I’ve condemned neo-Nazis. I’ve condemned many different groups,” he said. “But not all of those people were neo-Nazis, believe me. Not all of those people were white supremacists by any stretch.”
Reporters demanded to know whether the driver of the car that injured counter-protesters and killed a woman in the crowd was a domestic terrorist.
“I think the driver of the car is a disgrace to himself, his family and this country,” Trump replied. “The driver of the car is a murderer. What he did was a horrible, horrible, inexcusable thing.”
Trump also condemned what he called the “alt left” demonstrators that charged into the crowd of alt-right protesters without a protest permit.
“Do they have any semblance of guilt? What about the fact that they came charging with clubs in their hands, swinging clubs? Do they have any problem?” he asked. “I think they do.”
Trump described the day as “horrible,” but reminded reporters that there were “two sides to a story.”
“I think there is blame on both sides,” Trump said. “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 that.”
CNN’s Jim Acosta protested that the “neo-nazis” started the violence by showing up in Charlottesville to protest the removal of a statue depicting Confederate general Robert E. Lee.
Trump did not deny that there were “bad people” in the alt-right group but said that there were some protesters who were not white nationalists or neo-nazis that were protesting.
Trump dismissed media assertions that he was putting the alt-left and white supremacists on the same moral plane.
“I am not putting anybody on a moral plane,” he said. “You had a group on one side and the other and they came at each other with clubs and it was vicious and horrible.”
When asked if he spoke with the family of the victim, Trump replied, “I’ll be reaching out.”