A Month After Charlottesville, Trump Keeps Blaming ‘Bad Dudes’ For Violence

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump arrive at Southwest Florida International airport to meet with first responders and people impacted by Hurricane Irma, Tuesday, Sept. 14, 2017, in Ft. Myers, Fla. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) President Donald Trump participates in a briefing on Hurricane Irma relief efforts, Tuesday, Sept. 14, 2017, in Ft. Myers, Fla. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
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President Donald Trump on Thursday continued to blame “bad dudes” among counter-protesters at a white nationalist rally last month in Charlottesville, Virginia that turned deadly.

Trump initially said that “many sides” were to blame for the violence at the rally, and later said there were “very fine people” on both sides. Asked Thursday about a meeting he had with Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) to discuss his response to the white nationalist event, the President again criticized the “other side,” and said nothing about the white nationalists at the rally.

“We had a great talk yesterday,” Trump said of the meeting with Scott, who is the only black Republican senator. “I think especially in light of the advent of Antifa, if you look at what’s going on there.”

“Antifa” is short for “anti-fascist,” a group that sees violence as a proportional response to fascist groups.

“You have some pretty bad dudes on the other side also, and essentially, that’s what I said,” the President continued. “Now, because of what’s happened since then with Antifa, you look at what’s happened since Charlottesville, a lot of people are saying and people have actually written, ‘Gee, Trump may have a point.’ I said there’s some very bad people on the other side also, which is true.”

Scott said Wednesday that Trump had told him about “an antagonist on the other side” of the protest in Charlottesville, referring to counter-protesters.

Scott had said after Trump’s “many sides” comments immediately following the Charlottesville violence that the President’s “moral authority is compromised.”

Scott told reporters after his meeting with Trump that he had tried to contextualize the rally within white nationalists’ and white supremacists’ history of terrorizing minority communities.

“He shook his head and said, ‘yeah, I got it,’”  Scott said, characterizing Trump’s response, according to McClatchy.

Scott told CBS separately that Trump had “obviously reflected on what he has said, on his intentions and the perception of those comments.”

“I’ll let him discuss how he feels about it, but he was certainly very clear that the perception that he received on his comments was not exactly what he intended with those comments,” he added.

Scott responded to Trump’s latest equivocating Thursday by saying “That’s who he is,” according to CNN:

This post has been updated.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Matt Shuham is a news writer for TPM. He was previously assistant editor of The National Memo and managing editor of the Harvard Political Review. He is available by email at mshuham@talkingpointsmemo.com and on Twitter @mattshuham.

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