President Trump on Tuesday condemned the counter-protesters who showed up at Saturday’s white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, stating that they had attacked the other group and were partially responsible for the violence that ensued. His comments drew swift criticism from those who believed the president was attempting to justify the initial rally, which was meant to protest the removal of a Confederate monument and unite white supremacists and Nazi-sympathizers behind a common cause.
“What about the alt-left that came charging at the, as you say, ‘alt-right’? Do they have any semblance of guilt?” Trump said, during the televised news conference, which was originally intended to address infrastructure. “What about the fact that they came charging with clubs in their hands? Do they have any problem? I think they do.”
Trump then claimed that the counter-protesters initiated the clashes by “violently attacking the other group.” He did not present evidence to support the claim.
“You had a group on one side and a group on the other…it was a horrible thing to watch. That’s the way it is,” he said. “I think there’s blame on both sides. I have no doubt about it.”