Trump again al­leges ‘ bad dudes’ on both sides at Va. rally.

Richmond Times-Dispatch - - FRONT PAGE -

WASH­ING­TON— Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump on Thurs­day signed a res­o­lu­tion con­demn­ing white su­prem­a­cists and hate groups, hours af­ter re­viv­ing his as­ser­tion that there were “bad dudes” among the peo­ple who as­sem­bled to op­pose a white na­tion­al­ist protest in Char­lottesville, Vir­ginia, last month.

“You know, you have some pretty bad dudes on the other side also,” the pres­i­dent told re­porters aboard Air Force once, spark­ing another round of crit­i­cism that the pres­i­dent has failed to ad­e­quately con­demn hate speech.

The res­o­lu­tion, passed by Congress ear­lier this week, was in­tro­duced in the House by Reps. Thomas A. Gar­rett Jr., R-5th, and Ger­ald E. Con­nolly, D-11th, and in the Se­nate by Kaine and Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va. It con­demns “the vi­o­lence and do­mes­tic ter­ror­ist at­tack that took place” in Char­lottesville as well as white su­prem­a­cists, neo-Nazis and other hate groups.

It also urges Trump and his ad­min­is­tra­tion to “speak out against hate groups that es­pouse racism, ex­trem­ism, xeno­pho­bia, anti-Semitism and white supremacy,” and calls on the Jus­tice Department and other fed­eral agen­cies to “use all re­sources avail­able” to ad­dress the groups’ grow­ing preva­lence.

“As Amer­i­cans, we con­demn the re­cent vi­o­lence in Char­lottesville and op­pose ha­tred, big­otry, and racism in all forms,” Trump said in a state­ment an­nounc­ing the sign­ing. He called on Amer­i­cans to move for­ward “as one peo­ple” and “to re­dis­cover the bonds of love and loy­alty that bring us to­gether as Amer­i­cans.”

Trump’s ear­lier com­ments on Char­lottesville came one day af­ter he met in pri­vate with Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, the Se­nate’s lone black Repub­li­can, at the White House. The two dis­cussed the pres­i­dent’s past re­marks blam­ing “many sides” for the vi­o­lence and death around a Con­fed­er­ate statue.

Re­count­ing his con­ver­sa­tion with Scott, Trump told re­porters aboard Air Force One on Thurs­day: “I think es­pe­cially in light of the ad­vent of an­tifa, if you look at what’s go­ing on there, you know, you have some pretty bad dudes on the other side, also. And es­sen­tially that’s what I said.”

“An­tifa” is short for “an­tifas­cist,” an um­brella de­scrip­tion for far-left-lean­ing mil­i­tant groups.

Trump added that more and more peo­ple are start­ing to agree with him.

“A lot of peo­ple are say­ing — in fact a lot of peo­ple have ac­tu­ally writ­ten, ‘Gee Trump might have a point,’” Trump said. “I said, ‘You got some very bad peo­ple on the other side also,’ which is true.”

Trump last month said there were “very fine peo­ple” among the na­tion­al­ists and neo-Nazis protest­ing the pos­si­ble re­moval of a Con­fed­er­ate statue in Char­lottesville.

Scott said he told the pres­i­dent that there was no com­par­i­son.

“We had three or four cen­turies of rape, mur­der and death brought at the hands of the (Ku Klux Klan) and those who be­lieve in a su­pe­rior race,” he told re­porters at the Capi­tol. “I wanted to make sure we were clear on the de­lin­eation be­tween who’s on which side in the his­tory of the na­tion.”

Scott bluntly crit­i­cized Trump for as­sign­ing blame in a way that put white su­prem­a­cist protesters on equal foot­ing with coun­ter­demon­stra­tors who turned out for the Aug. 12 protests, sparked by Char­lottesville of­fi­cials’ de­ci­sion to re­move a statue of Con­fed­er­ate Gen. Robert E. Lee. That re­mark, Scott said, com­pro­mised Trump’s moral author­ity as pres­i­dent.

On Wed­nes­day, Trump told Scott that he just meant to con­vey “that there was an an­tag­o­nist on the other side” — to which Scott replied, “The real pic­ture has noth­ing to do with who is on the other side.”

The pres­i­dent said that he got the point, Scott said. Asked if the pres­i­dent can re­gain his moral author­ity, Scott re­sponded, “That will take time.”


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