If you ask most people what the worst moment in Donald Trump’s presidency has been so far, they’ll point to his comments in the wake of the Charlottesville rally in 2017, during which neo-nazis and white supremacists antagonized and attacked innocent counter-protestors, resulting in the death of a young woman named Heather Heyer.
Rather than condemn the violent and hate-filled monsters responsible for the tragic day, Trump insisted that there were “very fine people on both sides,” normalizing white supremacy and signaling solidarity with his racist supporters in the process and crystallizing his evil in the history books for all future generations to see.
Yesterday, during his presidential bid election announcement, former Vice President Joe Biden zeroed in on Trump’s Charlottesville rhetoric as proof that he lacks the moral backbone to serve as president, decrying the fact that Trump “assigned a moral equivalence between those spreading hate and those with the courage to stand against it.”
Today, presumably prompted by Biden’s words, the president was asked once again about his vile Charlotteseville comments. Instead of apologizing or trying to undo some of the damage he’s done, he doubled down, ripping open old wounds.
“I was talking about people who went because they felt very strongly about the monument to Robert E. Lee, a great general. Whether you like it or not, he was one of the great generals,” the President of the United States, praising a traitor who fought and killed Americans to defend and uphold the institution of slavery. Trump conveniently avoided mentioning the fact that many of the “very fine people” defending Robert E. Lee’s were neo-confederates and neo-Nazis who approve of slavery.
“I’ve spoken to many generals here, right at the White House, and many people thought, of the generals, they think he was maybe their favorite general,” he said unconvincingly. This part in particular sounds like something he made up on the spot, as he so often does.
“People were there protesting the taking down of the monument to Robert E. Lee. Everybody knows that,” Trump concluded. These new comments are indefensible and prove Biden’s point: Donald Trump should not be president.
Watch the clip below.
Trump defended his response to the violence in Charlottesville in 2017 when he said there were “very fine people on both sides.”
He said the was talking about people who “felt very strongly about the monument to Robert E. Lee. A great general, whether you like it or not.” pic.twitter.com/fulPWpY4zC
— POLITICO (@politico) April 26, 2019