A day after slamming white supremacists and calling them evil, US President Donald Trump again blamed ‘both sides’ for the violence in Charlottesville.
In saying so, the President reverted to his initial position on the matter.
“I think there’s blame on both sides. If you look at both sides — I think there’s blame on both sides. I have no doubt about it, and you don’t have any doubt about it either. And if you reported it accurately, you would say,” Trump told reporters at an impromptu news conference at Trump Towers in New York.
He blamed both sides including the “alt-left” for the deadly violence.
“There are two sides to a story….I thought what took place was a horrible moment for our country — a horrible moment. But there are two sides to the country…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? 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,” said the US President.
Trump came under fire from both Republicans and Democrats for his muted response to the violence unleashed by white supremacists during a rally in Charlottesville in which a woman was killed and 19 were injured when a car ploughed into a crowd of counter-protesters.
“The President’s press conference today made plain that the statement he gave on Saturday is what he really believes. “The President’s continued talk of blame ‘on many sides’ ignores the abhorrent evil of white supremacism, and continues a disturbing pattern of complacency around acts of hate from this President, his Administration and his campaign for the presidency,” said Nancy Pelosi, former Speaker of the US House of Representatives.
“From the beginning, President Trump has sheltered and encouraged the forces of bigotry and discrimination…We have seen the manifestation of this behaviour in the hiring of White House staff members, but also in the unmistakable conduct of his Administration toward immigrants, Muslims, and communities of colour,” she alleged.
“By saying he is not taking sides, Donald Trump clearly is. When David Duke and white supremacists cheer your remarks, you’re doing it very very wrong,” said said Senator Charles Schumer, Senate Minority Leader.
House Democratic Caucus Chairman Joe Crowley said Trump has “disgraced the office of the presidency” and “clearly lacks a moral compass”.
“A president who should be representing the party of Lincoln has instead chosen to stand with white nationalists, neo-Nazis, and domestic terrorists. It is beyond the pale,” Crowley said.
(With inputs from agencies)