Trump on white supremacists: ‘Pretty bad dudes on the other side also’
President Trump on Thursday revisited his response to the violence at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va., from last month, saying there are “some pretty bad dudes on the other side also.”
Speaking with reporters aboard Air Force Once after a brief trip to Florida, Trump spoke of his Wednesday meeting with Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.). Trump said many had come to back his response to Charlottesville, where he blamed the violence on both sides.
“We had a great talk yesterday. I think especially in light of the advent of antifa, if you look at what’s going on there. You have some pretty bad dudes on the other side also and essentially that’s what I said,” Trump said referring to anti-fascist activists or “antifa,” according to White House pool reports.
“Now because of what’s happened since then with antifa. When you look at really what’s happened since Charlottesville, a lot of people are saying and people have actually written, ‘Gee, Trump may have a point.’ I said there’s some very bad people on the other side also.”
Scott’s office pushed back on Trump’s comments Thursday afternoon, saying “there is no realistic comparison” between white supremacists and antifa.
“Rome wasn’t built in a day, and to expect the President’s rhetoric to change based on one 30 minutes conversation is unrealistic,” the GOP senator’s office said.
“Antifa is bad and should be condemned, yes, but white supremacists have been killing and tormenting black Americans for centuries. There is no realistic comparison. Period.”
The comments Thursday came a day after Trump and the Senate’s only black Republican met at the White House to discuss race relations.
After the meeting, Scott said he attempted to educate Trump about “the real picture” of the deadly violence that took place last month at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, which was originally held to protest the removal of a Confederate statue, drawing counterprotesters.
“The real picture has nothing to do with who is on the other side,” Scott said after the meeting, according to The New York Times.
“It has to do with the affirmation of hate groups who over three centuries of this country’s history have made it their mission to create upheaval in minority communities as their reason for existence,” he said.
Scott also said he was encouraged by his conversation with the president.
Trump has faced criticism, including from many Republicans, for his response to Charlottesville. The president has blamed “both sides” and “many sides” for the violence that left one counterprotester dead and numerous others injured after hate groups held a rally and a man with alleged ties to neo-Nazi groups plowed his car into a crowd.
Updated: 5:04 p.m.
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