Well, that didn't take long:
“I have condemned neo-Nazis,” he said. “I have condemned many different groups. But not all of those people were neo-Nazis, believe me. Not all of those people were white supremacists, by any stretch. Those people were also there because they wanted to protest the taking down of a statue, Robert E. Lee.”I like the bit where he edits his own statement. As someone interviewed on BBC World Service just said, Trump threw kerosene on the fire and then danced around the flames.
“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?” he added. “And the press has treated them absolutely unfairly.”
“Now, in the other group also, you had some fine people, but you also had trouble-makers, and you see them come with the black outfits, and with the helmets, and with the baseball bats,” he said. “You had a lot of bad people in the other group, too.”
“I think the driver of the car is a disgrace to himself, his family and his country,” he said. “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 would call it, because there is a question, is it murder, is it terrorism? And then you get into legal semantics. The driver of the car is a murderer. What he did was a horrible, horrible, inexcusable thing.
“I didn’t wait long, I didn’t wait long,” Trump said, responding to reporters’ questions after announcing an executive order in the lobby of Trump Tower. “I wanted to make sure, unlike most politicians, that what I said was correct, not make a quick statement. The statement I made on Saturday, the first statement, was a fine statement, but you don’t make statements that direct unless you know the fact.”
“It takes a little while to get the facts,” he said. “You still don’t know the facts. And it’s a very, very important process to me. And it’s a very important statement. So I don’t want to go quickly and just make a statement for the sake of making a political statement. I want to know the facts.”
He pulled the statement he had made Saturday out of his pocket and re-read it, but left out the part when he said “many sides” were responsible for the weekend’s violence.
“This week it’s Robert E. Lee,” he said. “I noticed that Stonewall Jackson is coming down. I wonder, is it George Washington next week and is it Thomas Jefferson the week after? You really do have to ask yourself, where does it stop?”
At least we know that teleprompter statement was something somebody wrote for him; as if there was any question.
I'm sure Congressional Republicans will be happy to defend Trump's statements. After all, neo-Nazis and white nationalists should be condemned totally, for sure! But all those people peacefully carrying torches through the UVA campus Friday night, shouting "Blood and soil!" and "You will not replace us!" were perfectly peaceful in their actions. After all, who you gonna believe? The President of the United States, who now says he has the facts, or the students on the UVA campus who were there?
“After this weekend, there should be no excuse for anyone to not take white supremacy seriously,” said History and Government major Weston Gobar. “Certainly the neo-Nazis who came to Charlottesville to intimidate minority communities take themselves seriously: They showed up with assault rifles and guns, wearing camouflage. They marched through a college campus with lit torches, yelling Nazi-era slogans and phrases like, ‘You will not replace us.’”
He continued, “The intention of this ‘alt-right’ rally was clear, and it had nothing to do with a statue. It was about intimidation. We need to call this violence — which culminated with the death of a 32-year-old woman — by it’s name: domestic terrorism.”
Politics and African-American and African Studies major Aryn A Frazier said, “On Friday night, I was locked in a church full of people, who were singing loudly to overpower the hate-filled chants of alt-right protesters carrying torches right outside the chapel doors.”
In spite of her fears, Frazier and her friends got up early on Saturday and joined the swelling ranks of counter-protesters gathering at Emancipation Park.
“It was obviously a very dangerous situation. The news said it. The governor said it when he declared a state of emergency and called in the National Guard. The worried text messages of family and friends said it. And a woman murdered in the street said it,” she said.
Nonetheless, “Each time one of the white supremacists threw a water bottle filled with a purplish chemical I couldn’t identify, or released pepper spray or smoke into the crowd, the counter-protesters retreated. We coughed into surgical masks or scarves and clutched at our throats, but then turned back for more.”
Isabella Ciambotti, a creative writing major, described the scene on Saturday as, “Violence and hate and blood, that’s what I saw. What happened in Charlottesville this past weekend wasn’t a rally. It was a riot.”
“There were absolutely groups of peaceful protesters in Charlottesville this past weekend, many making a mature show of resistance. But what I saw on Market Street didn’t feel like resistance. It felt like every single person letting out his or her own well of fear and frustration on the crowd,” she said.
“At one point, a woman demonstrating with the white supremacists “turned to me, looked me dead in the eye and said, ‘I hope you get raped by a nigger,'” she recounted. “I would hear that line several more times before the end of the day.”
Must have been one of the "bad ones" Trump was talking about. I'm sure he can identify the "good ones," too. Eventually. Besides, it was just about a statue; the President said so.