Trump rips media, defends Charlottesville statements at campaign-style rally

President Trump railed against the news media on Tuesday in a fiery, campaign-style speech, in which he defended his statements in the wake of the violence in Charlottesville, Va., earlier this month. 

"They don’t report the facts. Just like they don’t want to report that I spoke out forcefully against hatred, bigotry and violence, and strongly condemned the neo-Nazis, the white supremacists and the KKK," Trump said at a rally in Phoenix.

Fresh off a week in which he faced bipartisan backlash over his Charlottesville comments, the president turned back to the statements he made after violence erupted during a white nationalist protest in the college town.

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He argued that he did, in fact, sufficiently condemn hate groups in the immediate aftermath of the mayhem, and insisted that the media simply did not report his statements accurately. 

But Trump made no mention on Tuesday of his initial claim that "many sides" were responsible for the violence in Charlottesville — a characterization that both Republicans and Democrats denounced as equivocal and mute.

He also failed to mention his remark that there were "very fine people" among those protesting the removal of the statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.

In his rally speech, Trump also accused the media of "fomenting" political and social divisions in the United States, arguing that news outlets give a platform to "hate groups."

"It's time to expose the crooked media deceptions, and to challenge the media for their role in fomenting divisions and yes, by the way — and yes, by the way, they are trying to take away our history and our heritage," he said.