President Trump on Tuesday reverted to blaming "both sides" for the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, over the weekend, when white supremacist demonstrators clashed with anti-racist counter-protesters in escalating incidents that resulted in the death of a woman.
On Saturday, Trump addressed the violence, saying he condemned "this egregious display of hatred, bigotry, and violence, on many sides." His remarks immediately drew criticism because he failed to directly mention the race-based nature of the protests and equated the white supremacists with the counter-protestors; on Monday, he ostensibly righted that wrong when he referred by name to "the KKK, neo-Nazis, and white supremacists," saying their views "have no place in America."
But on Tuesday, in an angry press conference at Trump Tower, Trump once again cast equal blame. "I think there's blame on both sides, and I have no doubt about it," Trump said, questioning the "alt-left that came charging" at the white supremacists. "Don't they have any guilt?" In an apparent defense of Robert E. Lee, who led the main branch of the Confederate States Army during the Civil War and whose statue was at the center of the violence in Virginia, Trump pointed out that both George Washington and Thomas Jefferson owned slaves and questioned whether their statues should be removed too.
In response to Trump's combative Tuesday stance, one notable figure expressed his approval: white nationalist and former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard David Duke, who thanked Trump for his "honesty and courage" in declining to pin the entirety of the blame on white supremacists. Read his message below. Kimberly Alters