IOWA STATE FAIR, DES MOINES, Iowa — Former vice president Joe Biden told Breitbart News on Thursday that President Donald Trump called neo-Nazis in Charlottesville “very fine people,” and insisted that Trump did not condemn them — despite the fact that the video and transcript of Trump’s remarks prove him wrong.
The claim, known to conservative critics as the “Charlottesville hoax” or the “very fine people” hoax, is a core part of Biden’s stump speech, and a staple for many other Democratic presidential contenders as well. It is a key piece of “evidence” cited to support the claim that Trump is a racist who is inciting mass shootings.
Biden began his remarks at the “Political Soapbox” at the Iowa State Fair by repeating the claim that Trump had called neo-Nazis “very fine people”: “Charlottesville — that hate and that venom that we saw, and then the president saying, when asked about the groups … as well as the young woman, when she was killed, he said there were very fine people in both groups. Very fine people. No president, sitting president has ever said something like that. And the only thing that’s happened is it’s gotten worse.”
However, Biden is wrong.
Trump specifically said, “I’m not talking about the neo-Nazis and the white nationalists, because they should be condemned totally.”
Here is the video of Trump saying it: “I’m not talking about the neo-Nazis and the white nationalists, because they should be condemned totally”
Joe Biden denies that this happened pic.twitter.com/AejOrmskoe
— Ryan Saavedra (@RealSaavedra) August 8, 2019
He used the phrase “very fine people” to refer to non-violent protesters, both left and right, on either side of the question of the removal of a Confederate statue.
In that same press conference, the president also specifically condemned the murder of Heather Heyer, calling it “terrorism” and “murder.”
Breitbart News asked Biden about misquoting Trump, and the following exchange ensued.
Breitbart News: Mr. Vice President, are you aware that you’re misquoting Donald Trump in Charlottesville, he never called neo-Nazis “very fine people”?
Joe Biden: No, he called all those folks who walked out of that — they were neo-Nazis. Shouting hate, their veins bulging.
Breitbart News: But he said specifically that he was condemning them.
Joe Biden: Not specifically.
Breitbart News: He said —
Joe Biden: No, he did not. He said, he walked out, and he said — let’s get this straight. He said there were “very fine people” in both groups. They’re chanting antisemitic slogans, carrying flags.
Other reporters witnessed the exchange. Politico‘s Natasha Korecki tweeted: “Up close confrontation at the Iowa state fair:this man accuses @JoeBiden of misquoting @realDonaldTrump on white supremacists — and Biden tears into him.”
Prager U recently published a video on the topic:
Others who have refuted the “very fine people” hoax include CNN contributor Steve Cortes and Dilbert creator Scott Adams. Even CNN’s Jake Tapper has admitted that Trump did not say that, but the network continues to quote Trump as if he did.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He earned an A.B. in Social Studies and Environmental Science and Public Policy from Harvard College, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.