Trump, speaking at Trump Tower about infrastructure, was combative as he took questions from reporters about recent unrest involving hate groups in America.
Trump said “both sides” were wrong during the recent murder of 32-year-old Heather Heyer at a white supremacist counter protest in Charlottesville, Virginia.
“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 it, but I’ll say it right now,” Trump said. “You had a group on the other side that came charging in without a permit and they were very, very violent.”
Watch the full press conference in the video below:
Trump’s remarks in essence refuted a statement he delivered from the White House on Monday, in which he condemned hate groups such as the Ku Klux Klan and the neo-Nazis.
“We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence, it has no place in America,” Trump said at an unscheduled event. “And as I’ve said many times before, no matter the color of our skin, we all live under the same laws. We all salute the same great flag and we are all made by the same almighty God.
“We must love each other, show affection for each other and unite together in condemnation of hatred, bigotry and violence. We must rediscover the bonds of love and loyalty that bring us together as Americans.”
The remarks came two days after he declared “many sides” of being at fault in Heyer’s death, when violence in the city left 34 total injured in clashes with counter protesters and authorities. Two law enforcement officers also died in a helicopter crash as they were surveying the chaos.
At Tuesday’s press conference, Trump attacked what he called the “alt-left” for a role in what occurred in Charlottesville.
The “Unite the Right” rally in the Virginia city brought hundreds of white nationalists to the are in protest to the removal of a Robert E. Lee statue from a park.
“This week it’s Robert E. Lee,” Trump said. “I noticed Stonewall Jackson’s (in Charleston, West Virginia) coming down, I wonder, is it George Washington next week? Is it Thomas Jefferson the week after? You really have to ask yourself, where does it stop?”
Trump’s candid remarks to the recent events shocked many politicians and notable people, who commented on his actions on social media.
Other politicians, including members of Trump’s own party, chimed in to comment on Trump’s latest interaction with the press.
Here’s a look at some other reactions from notable people and organizations:
Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe
Senator Bernie Sanders
White Nationalist David Duke
Rep. Steve Scalise
Senator Chuck Schumer
Senator John McCain
Alt-Right Voice Richard Spencer
The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres
General Robert B. Neller
Rep. Gwen Moore