NEW YORK — It took President Donald Trump two days to explicitly call out the white supremacists and neo-Nazis who engaged in violent protests over the weekend that resulted in the death of a 32-year-old Charlottesville woman.
It took him less than 24 hours to undo the damage control that had been foisted upon him by teleprompter-wielding, crisis-managing aides.
Bridling at the term “alt-right,” Trump attempted to redirect blame for the violence at the rally onto the other side.
“What about the alt-left that came charging at the, as you say, the alt right? Do they have any semblance of guilt?” he said at an unplanned news conference in the lobby of Trump Tower, referring to the “alt-right” protesters who gathered to protest the removal of a Robert E. Lee statue from a park.
Trump also said he has yet to speak to the family of the woman killed, Heather Heyer, but promised that he would be “reaching out” and applauded her mother’s “beautiful statement,” in which she praised Trump.
With no teleprompter to keep him on a message crafted for him by his top aides, like chief of staff John Kelly, Trump reverted to the “many sides” language he ad-libbed on Saturday — remarks that earned him criticism from Republicans and Democrats alike, and even pushback from his own top aides.
“You had a group on one side and you had a group on the other,” Trump explained Tuesday, “and they came at each other with clubs and it was vicious and it was horrible, and it was a horrible thing to watch.”
He added: “I think there’s blame on both sides.”
What was he thinking? Why can’t this man keep his mouth shut? He simply cannot defend the KKK, the white supremacists, the neo-Nazis, and other anti-American groups. These groups have long been on various hate-group lists. He is President of the United States. He cannot defend their ideals. Period.