RealClearPolitics Flashback: Trump Didn’t Call Neo-Nazis ‘Fine People,’ Here’s Proof

TRUMP CHARLOTTESVILLE SPEECH
Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP

Just a few months ago, Steve Cortes, a CNN and Real Clear Politics commentator, reacted to the media’s continuous lies about what President Donald Trump said about the people at a protest and counter-protest in Charlottesville, Virginia on August 2017 over a Confederate statue. 

Cortes wrote in March:

News anchors and pundits have repeated lies about Donald Trump and race so often that some of these narratives seem true, even to Americans who embrace the fruits of the president’s policies. The most pernicious and pervasive of these lies is the ‘Charlottesville Hoax,’ the fake-news fabrication that he described the neo-Nazis who rallied in Charlottesville, Va., on August 2017 as ‘fine people.’

Just last week I exposed this falsehood, yet again, when CNN contributor Keith Boykin falsely stated, ‘When violent people were marching with tiki torches in Charlottesville, the president said they were ‘very fine people.’ When I objected and detailed that Trump’s “fine people on both sides” observation clearly related to those on both sides of the Confederate monument debate, and specifically excluded the violent supremacists, anchor Erin Burnett interjected, ‘He [Trump] didn’t say it was on the monument debate at all. No, they didn’t even try to use that defense. It’s a good one, but no one’s even tried to use it, so you just used it now.’

“My colleagues seem prepared to dispute our own network’s correct contemporaneous reporting and the very clear transcripts of the now-infamous Trump Tower presser on the tragic events of Charlottesville,” Cortes wrote ,and then included what Trump actually said about the tragic event that resulted in the death of one woman:

Excuse me, they didn’t put themselves down as neo-Nazis, and you had some very bad people in that group.  But you also had people that were very fine people on both sides.  You had people in that group – excuse me, excuse me, I saw the same pictures you did. You had people in that group that were there to protest the taking down of, to them, a very, very important statue and the renaming of a park from Robert E. Lee to another name.

After another question from the press, Trump got even more explicit, Cortes pointed out.

“I’m not talking about the neo-Nazis and white nationalists because they should be condemned totally.”

“These Charlottesville statements leave little room for interpretation,” Cortes wrote. “For any honest person, therefore, to conclude that the president somehow praised the very people he actually derided reveals a blatant and blinding level of bias.”

But, Cortes wrote, “so-called journalists” continue to use the “damnable lie,” including MSNBC’s Nicole Wallace who said Trump had “given safe harbor to Nazis, to white supremacists.”  

Wallace’s NBC colleague Chuck Todd claimed Trump “gave me the wrong kind of chills. Honestly, I’m a bit shaken from what I just heard.” 

“Not to be outdone, print also got in on the act, with the New York Times spewing the blatantly propagandist headline: “Trump Gives White Supremacists Unequivocal Boost,” Cortes wrote:

“The most powerful version was from the White House following Charlottesville and the heartbreaking death of Heather Heyer.  President Trump’s succinct and direct words,” Cortes wrote about what Trump actually said:

“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,” Trump said.

Cortes concluded his commentary with more of what Trump has said about racism and America:

“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,” Trump said.

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