In the previous blog I pointed out that media have lied in their coverage of what Donald Trump said about Charlottesville.
In the interests of basic truth, here are two transcripts, which will provide what President Trump actually said, as opposed to the filtered version concocted by so many media venues.
The first is from Mr. Trump’s initial statement about Charlottesville – two days before his “very fine people” comment. The bold print is mine:
“Thank you very much. As you know, this was a small press conference, but a very important one. And it was scheduled to talk about the great things that we’re doing with the secretary on the Veterans Administration. And we will talk about that very much so in a little while. But I thought I should put out a comment as to what’s going on in Charlottesville. So, again, I want to thank everybody for being here — in particular I want to thank our incredible veterans. And thank you, fellows. Let me shake your hands. … Great people. They’re great people.
“But we’re closely following the terrible events unfolding in Charlottesville, Va.. We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides, on many sides. It’s been going on for a long time in our country. Not Donald Trump, not Barack Obama. This has been going on for a long, long time. It has no place in America. What is vital now is a swift restoration of law and order and the protection of innocent lives. No citizen should ever fear for their safety and security in our society. And no child should ever be afraid to go outside and play or be with their parents and have a good time.
“I just got off the phone with the governor of Virginia, Terry Mcauliffe, and we agree that the hate and the division must stop, and must stop right now.
Does that look like support of White Supremacists and nazi wannabes to you?
Trump’s “problem” with media was that he didn’t specify them, his statement was generally about people who do what they do. That, and the fact that he didn’t exonerate the “antifa” thugs who , with copious help from the police (I assume this was on the orders of Charlottesville Mayor michael signer), started the physical confrontations.
And then there was that “very fine people” comment.
Did Donald Trump call White surpremacists and nazis very fine people? Well, with apologies for its length (I wanted to make sure full context was evident) let’s look at the actual words, not the media-filtered version, and see. As before, the bold print is mine:
Reporter: Do you think what you call the alt-left is the same as neo-Nazis?
Trump: Those people, all of those people- excuse me. 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.
Reporter: Well, white nationalists-
Trump: Those people were also there because they wanted to protest the taking down of a statue of Robert E. Lee. So … Excuse me. And you take a look at some of the groups and you see and you’d know it if you were honest reporters — which in many cases you’re not. But many of those people were there to protest the taking down of the statue of Robert E. Lee. So, this week it’s Robert E. Lee. I noticed that Stonewall Jackson is coming down. I wonder is it George Washington next week and is it Thomas Jefferson the week after? You know, you really do have to ask yourself where does it stop? But they were there to protest- excuse me. you take a look the night before, they were there to protest the taking down of the statue of the Robert E. Lee. Infrastructure question. Go ahead.
Reporter: Should statues of Robert E. Lee stay up?
Trump: I would say that’s up to a local town, community, or the federal government depending on where it is located.
Reporter: Are you against the Confederacy?
Another reporter: How concerned are you about race relations in America and do you think things have gotten worse or better since you took office?
Trump: I think they have gotten better- or the same- I- look. They’ve been frayed for a long time, and you can ask President Obama about that because he’d make speeches about it. But, I believe that the fact that I brought in, it will be soon, millions of jobs — you see where companies are moving back into our country — I think that’s going to have a tremendous positive impact on race relations. We have companies coming back into our country, we have two car companies that just announced, we have FoxConn in Wisconsin just announced. We have many companies, I say pouring back into the country. I think that’s going to have a huge, positive impact on race relations. You know why? It’s jobs. What people want now, they want jobs. They want great jobs with good pay and, when they have that, you watch how race relations will be. And I’ll tell you, we’re spending a lot of money on the inner cities. We’re fixing the inner cities. We’re doing far more than anybody’s done with respect to the inner cities. It’s a priority for me, and it’s very important.
Reporter: Mr. President, are you putting what you’re calling the alt-left and white supremacists on the same moral plane?
Trump: I’m not putting anybody on a moral plane. What I’m saying is this: You had a group on one side and you had a group on the other and they came at each other with clubs and it was vicious and it was horrible and it was a horrible thing to watch, but there is another side. There was a group on this side — you can call them the left, you’ve just called them the left — that came violently attacking the other group, so you can say what you want but that’s the way it is.
[Cross talk. Reporters shout questions.]
Reporter: Mr. President, your words-
Another reporter: You said there was hatred, there was violence on both sides. Are there-
Trump: Well, I do think there’s blame- Yes. I do think there’s blame on both sides. 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 and- and- and- and if you reported it accurately, you would say it.
[Cross talk. Reporters shout questions.]
Reporter: Neo-Nazis started this in Charlottesville. They showed up at Charlottesville, they-
Trump: Excuse me.
Reporter: To protest the removal of that-
Trump: [Inaudible.] You have some very bad people in that group, but you also had people that were very fine people on both sides. You had people in that group — excuse me, excuse me — I saw the same pictures as you did. You had people in that group that were there to protest the taking down of, to them, a very, very important statue and the renaming of a park from Robert E. Lee to another name.
Does that in any way call White supremacists or nazi wannabes very fine people? Or does it specifically condemn them, and make plain that the “very fine people” remark was for people (whether or not they actually were there) who were part of neither hate group but just against taking down the statue?
And, notably, Trump’s comment says exactly the same thing about the violence on the other side. He did not claim they were all “antifa” thugs, but said there were “very fine people” there as well.
Those are the facts. Not the media BS that so many people think they “know” to be true.
Now: woe betide the folks who dare to note these facts the next time they hear someone stating, with full certainty, Trump said what he didn’t at all say. Because that guarantees a major fight with someone who doesn’t know what he/she is talking about.