John Kelly: Trump 'both sides' comments might have not been 'articulated properly'

Former White House chief of staff John KellyJohn Francis KellyMORE on Tuesday said that controversial remarks President TrumpDonald John TrumpEsper sidesteps question on whether he aligns more with Mattis or Trump Warren embraces Thiel label: 'Good' As tensions escalate, US must intensify pressure on Iran and the IAEA MORE made after a 2017 white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va., may have not been articulated properly. 

Kelly said on Bloomberg Television’s “The David Rubenstein Show" that Trump was trying to say “that there were good people in the crowd" when he stated that there were "very fine people" on both sides of the violent demonstration. 


“Whether that was articulated properly, I don’t know,” Kelly said, before suggesting that the media took sides after the president made the remark. 

The August 2017 "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville erupted in violence that led to the death of one counterprotester. The violence broke out after a group of white nationalists scheduled a protest about the city's plans to remove a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee. 

Trump condemned white supremacism, but faced intense public scrutiny after saying there was blame on "both sides" as well as "very fine people on both sides."

Trump defended his remarks in April, saying that he was "talking about people that went because they felt very strongly about the monument to Robert E. Lee, a great general."

"Whether you like it or not, he was a great general," he told reporters. "People were there protesting the taking down of the monument of Robert E. Lee. Everybody knows that."

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Hill on Kelly's comments. 

Kelly left his role in the White House in December following a rocky 17-month tenure that was marked by multiple riffs with the president. 

Kelly said that during his tenure, the Trump family was an "influence" that had to be "dealt with." But he added that his view didn't apply to first lady Melania TrumpMelania TrumpCruz in 2016 said 'something fundamentally wrong' with Christians who back Trump: book Designer defends Melania Trump statue: 'People may laugh but the context still resonates' Melania Trump heading to West Virginia to discuss opioid epidemic MORE, whom he called a "wonderful person.”