During an expletive-laden rant at the Cannes film festival where the director is promoting his latest movie, Spike Lee lied about President Trump not denouncing racists in Charlottesville.
Addressing the riot in Charlottesville last August, where white supremacists and the left-wing domestic terrorist group Antifa clashed, Lee, using the word “motherfucker in place of Trump’s name, told the following lie to a crowd of “journalists” and fans who ate it up: “The motherfucker did not denounce the motherfucking Klan, the alt-right, and those Nazi motherfuckers.”
The video bleeps out the language but still might not be safe to listen to in mixed company.
Here is the truth of what Trump said on the night of the riot: [emphasis added]
We’re closely following the terrible events unfolding in Charlottesville, Virginia. We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides, on many sides. It’s been going on for a long time in our country. Not Donald Trump, not Barack Obama, this has been going on for a long, long time. It has no place in America. What is vital now is a swift restoration of law and order and the protection of innocent lives. No citizen should ever fear for their safety and security in our society. And no child should ever be afraid to go outside and play or be with their parents and have a good time.
Here are the exact words the president used two days later in an August 14 statement:
I just met with FBI Director Christopher Wray and Attorney General Jeff Sessions. The Department of Justice has opened a civil rights investigation into the deadly car attack that killed one innocent American and wounded 20 others. To anyone who acted criminally in this weekend’s racist violence, you will be held fully accountable. Justice will be delivered.
As I said on Saturday, we condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry, and violence. It has no place in America.
And as I have said many times before: No matter the color of our skin, we all live under the same laws, we all salute the same great flag, and we are all made by the same almighty God. We must love each other, show affection for each other, and unite together in condemnation of hatred, bigotry, and violence. We must rediscover the bonds of love and loyalty that bring us together as Americans.
Racism is evil. And those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs, including the KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and other hate groups that are repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans.
Here is what Trump said on August 15:
As I said on remember this, Saturday, we condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence. It has no place in America.
Speaking of the white supremacist who has been charged with plowing his car into the crowd and killing a young woman, Trump said:
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. And there is a question. Is it murder? Is it terrorism? Then you get into legal semantics. The driver of the car is a murderer, and what he did was a horrible, horrible, inexcusable thing.
I’ve condemned neo-Nazis. I’ve condemned many different groups, but not all of those people were neo-Nazis, believe me.
Trump also pointed out, correctly, that not everyone who got caught up in the riot were white supremacists or members of the left-wing terrorist group Antifa. While the media has used this to twist Trump’s words, the New York Times interviewed people who are not racists and chose to attend the rally to oppose the removal of Robert E. Lee’s statue.
The bottom line, though, is that when he says Trump did not condemn the racists in Charlottesville, Spike Lee is lying. The record not only shows that Trump did, in fact, condemn the Klan and the racists, but did so repeatedly.