Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) at a Democrat-led House Judiciary Committee hearing focused on white nationalism and hate crimes on Tuesday, asked witness Mort Klein, president of the Zionist Organization of America, about the popular but false narrative about what President Donald Trump said about those who took part in the deadly Charlottesville protest and counterprotest in 2017.
“What are your thoughts about President Trump’s remarks regarding the Charlottesville demonstration where’s he’s quoted as saying, ‘You also had some very fine people on both sides?’” Gohmert asked Klein.
“Well, I’m glad you asked that, because the media has really completely distorted the truth of that episode,” Klein said. He continued:
What he meant — and he said so when he said it — is that there are fine people who want to get rid of the Robert E. Lee statue and there are fine people who are not haters, who for historical reasons they want to keep that statue. He made that clear and then in the same breath, Mr. Gohmert, in the same breath President Trump said, quote: ‘I’m not talking about the neo-Nazi’s or the white nationalists when I say fine people because they should be condemned totally.’
Breitbart News has also dismantled the false narrative and reported on what the president actually said.
“And yet the media has never made that clear; in that statement, he condemned neo-Nazis and white nationalists,” Klein said. “He did not mean that they are fine people.”
“Quite the contrary,” Klein said. “He’s disgusted by those people.”
Gohmert said he looked forward to the day when Martin Luther King Jr.’s vision for America would be a place where his children would “not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”
“And I’ve been amazed, Mr. Klein, the Anti-Defamation League has called you, as I understand, a Jewish person, to be anti-Jewish,” Gohmert said.
The ADL had a representative as a witness at the hearing.
In his prepared remarks, Klein pointed out that the perpetrator of the Tree of Life Synagogue mass shooting last year hated Trump for not being antisemitic, and the man who killed Muslims in a mosque last month in New Zealand was an “eco-fascist” “who also published a manifesto praising Communist China.”
Klein also pointed out that the FBI reports Jews are the target of 60 percent of religiously motivated crimes.
“Jew hatred is the canary in the coal mine,” Klein said.
“I was horrified to see Speaker Pelosi, Leader Hoyer defend Rep. Omar after her vicious antisemitic remarks,” Klein said referring to Rep. Ilhan Omar’s (D-MN) anti-Jewish posts on social media.
Follow Penny Starr on Twitter