President Donald Trump grappled with the fake news media Tuesday at a press conference in New York intended to address rebuilding the nation’s infrastructure.
Attempting to cement the narrative that Trump waited too long to condemn hate groups which caused violence in Charlottesville over the weekend, one reporter asked, “Mr. President, why did you wait so long to blast neo-Nazis?”
The president shot back from a podium at Trump Tower saying he actually made a statement on Saturday after waiting for the facts:
THE PRESIDENT: I didn’t wait long.
Q: You waited two days —
THE PRESIDENT: I didn’t wait long.
Q: Forty-eight hours.
THE PRESIDENT: 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 facts. It takes a little while to get the facts. 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…
Trump proceeded to read his Saturday statement, in which he condemned the “egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence” at Charlottesville, and said he appreciated the mother of slain protester Heather Heyer for saying the “nicest things” to him.
“And honestly, if the press were not fake, and if it was honest, the press would have said what I said was very nice. But unlike you, and unlike — excuse me, unlike you and unlike the media, before I make a statement, I like to know the facts.”
The president also held firm that both sides bear responsibility for the weekend’s tragic events, including violent Antifa alt-leftists, who among other things were documented throwing urine, feces and chemical agents at rally-goers.
“Okay, what about the alt-left that came charging at — excuse me, what about the alt-left that came charging at the, as you say, the alt-right?” Trump asked. “Do they have any semblance of guilt?”
“Let me ask you this: What about the fact that they came charging with clubs in their hands, swinging clubs? Do they have any problem? I think they do. As far as I’m concerned, that was a horrible, horrible day,” Trump said, telling a reporter “I’m not finished. I’m not finished, fake news.”
“You had a group on one side that was bad, and you had a group on the other side that was also very violent. And nobody wants to say that, but I’ll say it right now. You had a group — you had a group on the other side that came charging in, without a permit, and they were very, very violent,” Trump stated.
“There is another side. There was a group on this side, you can call them the left. You have just called them the left, that came violently attacking the other group. You can say what you want. That’s the way it is.”
“Yes, I think there’s blame on both sides,” the president reiterated. “If you look at both sides — I think there’s blame on both sides. And I have no doubt about it, and you don’t have any doubt about it either.”
Trump also addressed groups calling for the removal of statues across the nation.
“You’re changing history. You’re changing culture,” Trump said, asking if the nation’s Founding Fathers would next be targeted.
“George Washington was a slave owner. Was George Washington a slave owner? So will George Washington now lose his status?” Trump questioned. “Are we going to take down statues to George Washington? How about Thomas Jefferson? … Are we going to take down the statue? Because he was a major slave owner. Now are we going to take down his statue?”