David Duke thanks Trump for blaming ‘alt-left’ for Charlottesville
White nationalist leader David Duke on Tuesday thanked President Trump for blaming violence in Charlottesville, Va., on the “alt-left.”
Duke thanked Trump for his “honesty & courage” in a tweet.
— David Duke (@DrDavidDuke) August 15, 2017
At a press conference Tuesday, Trump doubled down on his claim that “both sides” were to blame for the violence in Charlottesville.
“What about the alt-left that came charging at the — as you say, the alt-right?” Trump said.
“Do they have any semblance of guilt? What about the fact they came charging with clubs in their hands, swinging clubs? Do they have any problem? I think they do,” he continued. “As far as I am concerned, that was a horrible, horrible day.”
Trump accused left-wing anti-fascist or “antifa” protesters of showing up “without a permit,” and said they were “very, very violent.”
“And nobody wants to say that. But I’ll say it right now,” Trump told reporters. “You had a group on the other side that came charging in without a permit, and they were very, very violent.”
Trump’s comments are certain to fuel the controversy over his response to Charlottesville, where white nationalist groups held a rally over the weekend.
On Saturday, a man attending the rally allegedly drove a car into a crowd of counterprotesters, killing one woman and injuring at least 19 other people. That day, Trump initially blamed the violence on “many sides,” which led to criticism from both parties.
On Monday, he sought to end the controversy by calling racism “evil” and specifically mentioning groups including the Ku Klux Klan and neo-Nazis who took part in the rally.
Trump was criticized during the campaign by those who said he should have done more to disavow the support of Duke, a former leader of the KKK, and other white nationalists. After Duke endorsed him, Trump initially brushed off questions about his support before disavowing him.
Duke also attended the Charlottesville rally where he reiterated his support for Trump.
“We’re going to fulfill the promises of Donald Trump, and that’s what we believed in, that’s why we voted for Donald Trump, because he said he’s going to take our country back and that’s what we gotta do,” Duke told reporters on Saturday.
This story was updated at 5:23 p.m.