CNN anchor Jake Tapper admitted Friday that President Donald Trump did not refer to neo-Nazis or white supremacists as “very fine people” in his remarks about the Charlottesville, Virginia, riots in 2017.
The admission came as Tapper and his CNN panel discussed former vice president Joe Biden’s campaign launch video, released Thursday, in which Biden explicitly claimed that Trump had referred to the neo-Nazis as “very fine people.”
Tapper played a clip of Trump’s remarks — though not the portion in which Trump made it clear to reporters that he was ” not talking about the neo-Nazis and the white nationalists, because they should be condemned totally.”
Instead, Tapper described that portion of the press conference: “Now, elsewhere in those remarks, Trump did condemn neo-Nazis and white supremacists. So he’s not saying that the neo-Nazis and white supremacists are very fine people.”
Tapper’s admission is a major concession by CNN, which has refused thus far to correct or retract its repeated claims in recent weeks that Trump was, in fact, referring to the neo-Nazis as “very fine people.” The network even aired deceptively edited video of Trump’s remarks to create the impression that he said something that he had not.
CNN contributor Steve Cortes took his own network to task, noting that CNNs’ own reporting at the time made clear that Trump had been referring to people in Charlottesville to protest the removal of a statue — not neo-Nazis.
In the Friday broadcast, Tapper went on to question the notion that anyone “protesting alongside” the neo-Nazis could be “very fine people.”
As the New York Times reported at the time, some protesters who were present in Charlottesville had nothing to do with the neo-Nazis or white supremacists.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. 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.