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Trump Blames Both Sides For Charlottesville Violence

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President Donald Trump reiterated his view Aug. 15 that both sides involved in the violence that broke out in Charlottesville, Virginia, Aug. 12 were responsible.

The president made the comments during a press conference in Trump Tower in New York, CNN reported.

"I think there is blame on both sides," Trump said, according to CNN.

A reporter asked him about the role of the "alt-right," made up of white supremacist and neo-Nazi groups.

"What about the alt-left that came charging at, as you say, the alt-right, do they have any semblance of guilt?" said Trump. "What about the fact they came charging with clubs in hands, swinging clubs, do they have any problem, I think they do."

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Trump went on to defend the stance he took in his first statement issued following the violence Aug. 12. In that statement, he said there had been "hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides," but did not single out neo-Nazi groups for criticism, The New York Times reported.

"You had a group on one side that was bad and you had a group on the other side that was also very violent," he said, according to CNN. "Nobody wants to say it, but I will say it right now."

Trump was asked his opinion of James Fields, the 20-year-old charged with second-degree murder after driving his car into a group of counter-protesters. The collision killed one woman, Heather Heyer, and injured around 20 others.

"You can call it terrorism, you can call it murder. You can call it whatever you want," Trump added. "The driver of the car is a murderer and what he did was a horrible, horrible, inexcusable thing."

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Attorney General Jeff Sessions stated Aug. 14 that efforts would be made to bring the strongest charges possible against Fields.

Many people have criticized Trump for waiting two days to specifically mention white supremacist groups like the Ku Klux Klan. Several executives quit the American Manufacturing Council, an advisory body to Trump, in protest.

"I didn't wait long. I didn't wait long. I wanted to make sure, unlike most politicians, that what I said was correct, not make a quick statement," Trump told reporters. "The statement I made on Saturday, the first statement, was a fine statement, but you don't make statements that direct until you know the facts. It takes a little while to get the facts. You still don't know the facts and it is a very, very important process to me. It is a very important statement."

Sources: CNN, The New York Times / Featured Image: Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff/Flickr / Embedded Images: Shealah Craighead via Wikimedia Commons, Federal Bureau of Investigation via Wikimedia Commons

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