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Critics Condemn President for Calling Out Both Sides in Charlottesville

Critics Condemn President for Calling Out Both Sides in Charlottesville Read Transcript


--Club.

President Trump is facing a fresh firestorm

of bipartisan criticism today for his latest comments

about the Charlottesville riots.

Perhaps the chief complaint, the president saying there

were "very fine people on both sides."

Heather Sells has more.

The president said there is blame on both sides for what

happened in Charlottesville.

He talked about what he called the Alt-Left charging

with clubs at the Alt-Right.

What about the Alt-Left?

They came charging at the, as you say, the "Alt-Right."

Do they have any semblance of guilt?

HEATHER SELLS (VOICEOVER): There is

evidence of violence on the Alt-Left side,

like these photos.

The president also defended himself

from critics who say he should not

have waited two days to condemn specific groups

in Charlottesville.

I wanted to make sure, unlike most politicians,

that what I said was correct, not make a quick statement.

HEATHER SELLS (VOICEOVER): The president

spoke of "very fine people on both sides,"

and said that both sides were to blame.

It's that perspective that has so many on both the left

and right outraged.

Even former presidential candidates Jeb Bush and Mitt

Romney denounced the comments.

Perhaps the only ones who seemed truly pleased, the protesters.

David Duke, the former leader of the KKK,

thanked Trump on Twitter for his honesty and courage.

As more and more cities move to remove Confederate statues,

the president wondered aloud, what's next?

Was George Washington a slave owner?

So will George Washington now lose his status?

Are we going to take down--

excuse me-- are we going to take down--

are we going to take down statues to George Washington?

How about Thomas Jefferson?

HEATHER SELLS (VOICEOVER): Overnight,

city crews in Baltimore began removing Confederate monuments.

And in Birmingham, Alabama crews covered a Confederate statue,

while the city debates legal options to remove it.

In the nation's capital, vandals defaced the Lincoln Memorial,

using red graffiti and explicit language.

Amidst all the unrest, the father

of Charlottesville victim Heather Heyer

is setting an example.

He says he forgives the man who killed his daughter.

The people need to stop hating.

And they need to forgive each other.

You know, and I include myself in that,

in forgiving the guy that did this.

OK?

And he don't know no better.

I just think of what the Lord said on the cross,

Lord forgive them, they don't know what they're doing.

Many church leaders this week are

calling for a full condemnation of white supremacists,

with no exceptions.

They are also calling for the church

to lead the way in a country that

needs racial reconciliation and healing,

perhaps now more than ever.

Heather Sells, CBN News.

Thanks, Heather.

CBN News Chief Political Correspondent David Brody

joins us now with more from Washington.

David, do you think the president was perhaps

trying to reach a specific audience yesterday?

Wendy, I think this was Donald Trump being Donald Trump.

And you know, he's not calculating exactly who

he's trying to reach.

I know there's talk about him trying to reach

"the base," and all of that.

Look, I think here's what went down yesterday at Trump Tower.

I think it's pretty simple, and unfortunately it's

relatively complicated as well.

There really should have been four press conferences there.

You know, he came to talk about infrastructure.

And as matter of fact, during the press conference

he kept saying, anybody got a question about infrastructure?

And no one obviously did.

So there was the infrastructure part of the press conference.

And then, the second part is where

he needed to step to a separate microphone, if you will,

and talk about the KKK and denounce that and have

a full stop there.

Because what they have done and said,

it's absolutely atrocious.

And then, there was a third microphone

that should have been set up, talking about the media

and how they're spinning things left and right

and all of that-- mostly to the left, if you will.

And then the fourth microphone, which

is the big one, the racism argument, if you will,

the racism narrative, that needed to be put out there.

I'm talking about how, yes, in this country

we've had both sides comment, and all of that.

But it needed to be framed in a much more

contextual environment.

And instead, it ended up kind of being this whole mosh

pit of words in a Trump press conference, that

in essence ran amok.

And the media had a field day with it.

Well, David, speaking of infrastructure, what bearing

might this whole Charlottesville situation

have on his agenda, especially cooperation

or support from Congress?

Well, you know Wendy, he had a tough job going in.

Remember, he hadn't been a Republican for a long time

in his career.

He really had no standing with the Republican Party,

because he didn't really have many favors to cash in,

if you will.

And now he's a politically incorrect president

dealing with a lot of Republican politicians

who want to be politically correct.

And the problem with that is, that just is not a good mix.

And it does not bode well for his agenda.

Having said that, one thing I've learned, never count Trump out.

It just seems like when you think the guy is off

and it's just not going to work out for him, all of a sudden

he pulls a rabbit out of a hat somehow, some way.

We'll see.

Do you know if anyone in the White House

was caught off guard by anything the president said yesterday?

Well, put it this way, they were frustrated for sure.

I mean, there's that picture of John Kelly,

the new Chief of Staff looking down, staring at the floor.

Not necessarily shaking his head,

but there were some other staffers

that were clearly a bit frustrated that the president

had to do this.

Because I mean, clearly, there's been some mixed messages here.

That doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure that out.

Any time you have a mixed message on something

like this, that's going to give a lot more fuel to the fire

here, Wendy.

So is timing really the problem here?

So the president made a statement Saturday.

He spoke on camera Monday, then he took questions

from reporters Tuesday.

Did he gain or lose ground over the last few days?

Well, you know, the media wants

to have this narrative that you know he's changed positions.

Look, if you go back to every statement he made--

Saturday, Monday, and then Tuesday--

he actually said "both sides" all three times.

And on Monday, he did mention the KKK neo-Nazis by name.

And yesterday he actually also denounced them by name.

So there's been a little bit more consistency

than the media likes to say.

Having said that, look, if you've

got David Duke tweeting out thanks to the president,

Houston we have a problem at that point.

And the president obviously would need to understand that.

Any time you don't have a clear delineation mark between what

the KKK is all about and some of these other side

comments, well, then you're just giving air and oxygen

to the white supremacist, neo-Nazi folks who

are spewing hate left and right, and clearly

from the pit of hell.

All right, David Brody, we appreciate your insight.

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