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15 Aug 2017

President Trump blames 'both sides' for Charlottesville at press conference

President defends far-right marchers and equates Confederate generals Robert E Lee and Stonewall Jackson with George Washington and Thomas Jefferson
Donald Trump defended far-right protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia on Tuesday, insisting that “not all of those people were neo-Nazis, not all of those people of white supremacists”.

He also condemned leftwing counter-protesters who came to the Virginia university town to challenge the far-right marchers.

The remarks – during a rowdy press conference inside the foyer of Trump Tower – were the latest twist in three days of controversy since Trump first responded to Saturday’s events in which Heather Heyer died after white nationalist James Alex Fields Jr drove his car into a crowd.
Trump initially blamed violence “on many sides” before apparently reluctantly giving a statement on Monday denouncing racism as evil.

Speaking on Tuesday, he insisted that many of those in the crowds brandishing Nazi flags and engaging white power salutes were simply “there to protest the taking down the statue of Robert E Lee.”

Trump went on to equate Lee and fellow Confederate general Stonewall Jackson with George Washington and Thomas Jefferson.

While all four men were slaveholders, neither Washington nor Jefferson ever rebelled against the US in an attempt to protect the institution of slavery from federal interference.

Trump did condemn Fields, the driver of the car, saying he “is a disgrace to himself his family and his country”.
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