President Donald Trump has once again blamed both sides for the violent unrest in Charlottesville, refusing to single out either the white supremacist demonstrators or the anti-fascist protestors who opposed them.
The leader has stirred controversy for refusing to immediately condemn neo-Nazism in the wake of the clashes in Virginia that left one dead and several injured.
Trump said: “You had a group on one side that was bad and you had a group on the other side that was also very violent.”
“I’ve condemned neo-Nazis. I’ve 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,” he continued.
Trump also decried the tearing down of a statue of confederate leader Robert E Lee, an act which sparked much of the tension in Charlottesville.
He said that the crowds of right-wing protestors protecting the statue had included “many fine people”.
Trump said: “Was George Washington a slave owner? So Will George Washington now lose his status? Are we going to take down statues of George Washington? How about Thomas Jefferson? Are we going to take down his statue because he was a major slave owner?”
Attracting support from the wrong places
David Duke, a former Imperial Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, thanked president Trump for condemning what he called “leftist terrorists”.
However, US Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer criticized Trump for dividing and not uniting the US in the wake of the violence, saying that by not taking sides.
Great and good American presidents seek to unite not divide. Donald Trump’s remarks clearly show he is not one of them.— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) August 15, 2017
By saying he is not taking sides, Donald Trump clearly is. When David Duke and white supremacists cheer, you’re doing it very very wrong.— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) August 15, 2017