Breitbart News Senior Editor-at-Large Joel Pollak dismantled the lie that President Donald Trump described white supremacists and neo-Nazis as “very fine people” following 2017’s demonstrations and riots in Charlottesville, VA. He offered his analysis during an introductory monologue on Monday’s edition of SiriusXM’s Breitbart News Tonight with co-host Rebecca Mansour.
Pollak began, “First we have to acknowledge that the terror attacks in Christchurch, New Zealand, were absolutely horrific independent of whatever political or philosophical arguments we might be getting into about them, now, especially with the media coverage. I thought it would be appropriate to quote George Orwell who wrote in Looking Back on the Spanish War, an essay of 1942: ‘Unfortunately, the truth about atrocities is far worse than that they are lied about and made into propaganda. The truth is that they happen.’ And that’s the thing above all that we are still very upset about, that this would happen at all.”
Pollak continued, “But it is also upsetting that our media are determined to link President Donald Trump to this atrocity half a world away when he has repeatedly denounced white nationalism, neo-Nazis, the KKK, et cetera, et cetera, bigotry of every form. And they are determined to make this his fault somehow. Even our friends Fox News are playing along with this idea. I heard John Roberts today on Special Report cite the terrorist’s manifesto and some of the positive things he said about Donald Trump, leaving out the negative things he said about Donald Trump.”
Pollak noted the ubiquity with which news media outlet perpetuate the aforementioned false claim about Trump and its impact on the public’s perception of associated events.
“There is a determined effort by our media to link New Zealand to Donald Trump, and they can’t do so on any factual basis, so they’re obscuring parts of the truth and returning to a litany of complaints against Donald Trump that is by now familiar to many people,” stated Pollak. “At the top of that list — which to our media supposedly proves that Donald Trump is a racist — is the claim that he referred to neo-Nazis and white supremacists at the Charlottesville, Virginia, protests in August of 2017 as ‘very fine people, Those of you listening to this broadcast might actually believe he said that, and you can be forgiven for believing that because it has been drummed into our heads, collectively, by the mainstream media, and particularly CNN.”
“Donald Trump was not talking about those people [when he said very fine people]. In fact, Donald Trump specifically excluded those people from the people he was talking about as ‘very fine people.’ This lie has been repeated over and over again on CNN and it is a lie that intends to demonstrate to us that the president thinks white supremacists and neo-Nazis are good people., and that proves he’s a racist, proves he’s responsible for the violence in New Zealand and everywhere else. That is the purpose for which this lie is used an CNN keeps returning to it over and over again, and it’s spreading to other places.”
I want to play to you what Trump actually said, because what you’re going to hear is he was talking about protesters around the issue of the removal of the statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee, and you’re also going to hear him say that the neo-Nazis and white supremacists are not the people he’s talking about when he says ‘very fine people.’ You’re going to want to hear this. You may not have hear it before. You may not remember it, because you’ve heard the fake version. The deceptively edited version so many times. But this is the actual clip of Donald Trump on that day, August 15, 2017, talking about ‘very fine people.’
A segment of Trump’s press conference (relevant portion begins at 12:05) regarding the Charlottesville protests and riots on August 15, 2017, was then played. Trump said (emphasis added):
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 that were there to protest the taking down of, — to them — a very, very important statute and the renaming of a park from Robert E. Lee to another name. George Washington was a slave owner. Was George Washington a slave owner? So will George Washington now lose his status? Are we going to take down statutes to George Washington? How about Thomas Jefferson? What do you think about Thomas Jefferson? Do you like him? Are we going to take down his statute? Because he was a major slave-owner. Now are we going to take down his statute? You’re changing history. You’re changing culture, and you had people — and I’m not talking about the neo-Nazis and the white nationalists, because they should be condemned totally — but you had many people in that group other than neo-Nazis and white nationalists, okay? And the press has treated them absolutely unfairly.
Pollak stated, “So now that you’ve heard it, you now know that everyone telling you that ‘very fine people’ refers to neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and white nationalists is lying to you, or they are ignorant. But you heard it yourself. Donald Trump specifically used that phrase to refer to, firstly, the demonstrators that were there to protest the removal of a statue, and he also used it to refer to the peaceful counter-demonstrators on the left; those who came to protest racism, as they saw it.”
Trump similarly condemned the Ku Klux Klan and neo-Nazis “in the strongest possible terms” on August 13, 2017, during a televised statement from the White House. A segment was shared:
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 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 that 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. We are a nation founded on the truth that all of us are created equal.
Pollak remarked, “Alright, so you heard him there denounce neo-Nazis and the KKK in the strongest possible terms as repugnant and contrary to the American ideal. He did it from the White House. You have not heard any of that in the last few days since the terror attacks in New Zealand. You haven’t heard one journalist cite that speech. You haven’t heard anybody recall it. That is partly because the press conference the next day was such a big deal, such a controversy. But it’s also because the media have willfully forgotten it. They have buried it. They do not want you to remember that Trump has already condemned these groups multiple times in the strongest possible terms.”
Pollak noted how Trump, unlike many other world leaders, directed action towards protecting Muslims in countries like Syria.
“The implication is that he hasn’t shown empathy for Muslims already, and that it also false, because Donald Trump has shown not just empathy, but action to protect Muslims from being killed,” Pollak commented. “Let me give you the best example. It’s one, again, the media are not talking about. When Donald Trump heard that Bashar al-Assad, the dictator of Syria — who is not Muslim, by the way — was using chemical weapons against civilians, most of whom are Muslims, Donald Trump because emotively angry, emotional. He became viscerally angry, and that’s when he ordered the airstrikes on Syria against the opposition of many conservative critics of interventionist foreign policy, including some critics at Breitbart.com. Donald Trump said, ‘I’m going to do something about this,’ because he was so moved by the death of those Muslim civilians.”
Pollak went on, “This is Donald Trump’s actual practical reaction to the death of innocent Muslim civilians. He is the only world leader who has done anything to protect those civilians, hundreds of thousands of whom were slaughtered in the Syrian Civil War by their government. All of these people coming out now and blaming Donald Trump and saying it’s his language about Muslims that somehow inspired the New Zealand terror attacks, I want to ask you something — and I want to put this question specifically to our two new Muslim members of Congress, Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib, they have said nothing — absolutely nothing — as a million Muslims in China have been herded into concentration camps, many dying there, many going to some unknown fate, the Trump administration has spoken out against it, vigorously, in the first ever international Ministerial on Religious Freedom, the Trump administration put out a statement condemning China for this.
The news media and broader left, observed Pollak, is more interested in the mass murder of Muslims when the perpetrator is a “crazy white nationalist terrorist.”
“Why is it only when a crazy white nationalist terrorist attacks and kills innocent Muslims that there’s an outcry,” asked Pollak. “Why is there not an outcry when Muslims are being killed by other people, by other Muslims? Where is the moral outrage? Is that Donald Trump’s fault, too? Donald Trump has done more to protect Muslims than any president of that last, well, you know what? I’ll give George Bush and Bill Clinton credit. George Bush argued, at least, that Muslims civilians deserve protection from Saddam Hussein, and Bill Clinton went to war in Kosovo. Donald Trump is in that tradition.”
Breitbart News Tonight broadcasts live on SiriusXM Patriot channel 125 weeknights from 9:00 p.m. to midnight Eastern or 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Pacific.
Follow Robert Kraychik on Twitter @rkraychik.