trump tower presser
Trump: Does the 'alt-left' have any guilt?
01:07 - Source: CNN
CNN  — 

He simply couldn’t help himself.

A day after President Donald Trump gave in to political pressure and denounced, by name, the white supremacists and neo-Nazis who rallied in Charlottesville this past weekend, he reversed course and again claimed “both sides” were to blame for the violence in the Virginia city.

After a brief round of remarks on his plans to revamp US infrastructure, Trump offered to take questions from reporters. Over the next 15 minutes, he defended racist demonstrators, claimed his initial statement was muted because he doesn’t like to speak before having all “the facts,” and suggested the movement to take down Confederate monuments around the country was an effort to “change history” and “change culture.”

Donald Trump August 15 2017 01
Trump defends Charlottesville statement (full remarks)
15:57 - Source: CNN

Here are Trump’s 14 most inflammatory and bizarre statements.

1. On why he waited two days to denounce the racist groups

“I wanted to make sure, unlike most politicians, that what I said was correct, not make a quick statement. The statement I made on Saturday, the first statement, was a fine statement. But you don’t make statements that direct unless you know the facts. It takes a little while to get the facts. … I want to know the facts.”

2. On whether the attack that killed Heather Heyer in Charlottesville was ‘terrorism’

“You can call it terrorism. You can call it murder. You can call it whatever you want. I would just call it as the fastest one to come up with a good verdict. That’s what I’d call it. Because there is a question. Is it murder? Is it terrorism? And then you get into legal semantics. The driver of the car is a murderer. And what he did was a horrible, horrible, inexcusable thing.”

3. On whether he has confidence in White House chief strategist Steve Bannon

“He’s a friend of mine. But Mr. Bannon came on very late, you know that. I went through 17 senators, governors, and I won all the primaries. Mr. Bannon came on very much later than that, and I like him. He’s a good man. He is not a racist, I can tell you that. He’s a good person. He actually gets a very unfair press in that regard.”

4. When asked about the ‘alt-right’s’ influence in Charlottesville

“What about the ‘alt-left’ that came charging them? Excuse me. What about the alt-left that came charging at the – as you say, the alt-right? Do they have any semblance of guilt? … Let me ask you this. What about the fact they came charging – that they came charging with clubs in their hands, swinging clubs? Do they have any problem? I think they do.”

5. On how he viewed the weekend violence and who was responsible

“I watched those very closely, much more closely than you people watched it. And you have – you had a group on one side that was bad, and you had a group on the other side that was also very violent, and nobody wants to say that, but I’ll say it right now. You had a group – you had a group on the other side that came charging in without a permit, and they were very, very violent.”

6. Defending the ‘Unite the Right’ demonstrators against accusations of racism

“Not all of those people were neo-Nazis, believe me. Not all of those people were white supremacists, by any stretch. Those people were also there because they wanted to protest the taking down of a statue, Robert E. Lee.”

7. Echoing the right-wing argument against removing Confederate monuments

“So this week it’s Robert E. Lee. I noticed that Stonewall Jackson’s coming down. I wonder, is it George Washington next week? And is it Thomas Jefferson the week after? You know, you all – you really do have to ask yourself, where does it stop?”

8. On whether he was comparing counter-protesters and white supremacists

“You had a group on one side and you had a group on the other, and they came at each other with clubs and it was vicious and it was horrible. And it was a horrible thing to watch. But there is another side. There was a group on this side, you can call them the left. You’ve just called them the left – that came violently attacking the other group. So you can say what you want, but that’s the way it is.”

9. On who was to blame for the violence

“Well, I do think there’s blame – yes, I think there’s blame on both sides. You look at – you look at both sides. I think there’s blame on both sides. And I have no doubt about it, and you don’t have any doubt about it either. … But you also had people that were very fine people, on both sides. … You had people in that group that were there to protest the taking down of, to them, a very, very important statue and the renaming of a park from Robert E. Lee to another name.”

10. On Thomas Jefferson

“Are we going to take down the statue (of Jefferson)? Because he was a major slave owner. Now, are we going to take down his statue? So you know what? It’s fine. You’re changing history. You’re changing culture. And you had people, and I’m not talking about the neo-Nazis and the white nationalists, because they should be condemned totally. But you had many people in that group other than neo-Nazis and white nationalists.”

11. Comparing George Washington to Robert E. Lee

“George Washington was a slave owner. Was George Washington a slave owner? So, will George Washington now lose his status? Are we going to take down – excuse me – are we going to take down – are we going to take down statues to George Washington?”

12. On the media coverage of the ‘Unite the Right’ rally

“And the press has treated them absolutely unfairly. Now, in the other group also, you had some fine people, but you also had troublemakers and you see them come with the black outfits and with the helmets and with the baseball bats. You’ve got – you had a lot of bad – you had a lot of bad people in the other group.”

13. After being asked if he’s spoken to the family of Heather Heyer

“I’ll be reaching out. … I was very – I thought that the statement put out – the mother’s statement I thought was a beautiful statement. I must tell you, I was – it was something that I really appreciated. I thought it was terrific. And really, under the – under the kind of stress that she’s under and the heartache that she’s under, I thought putting out that statement to me was really something I won’t forget.”

14. On Charlottesville

“I mean I know a lot about Charlottesville. Charlottesville is a great place that has been very badly hurt over the last couple of days. I own, actually, one of the largest wineries in the United States – it’s in Charlottesville.”