GOP Rep. Defends Trump For Blaming ‘Both Sides’ In Charlottesville

Tom Williams/CQPHO

After President Donald Trump on Tuesday placed some blame on the “alt-left” for the violence in Charlottesville over the weekend, effectively undoing his previous statement condemning white nationalists, at least one Republican member of Congress jumped to the President’s defense.

In a Tuesday Facebook post, Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY) said that Trump was right to call out liberals and said that the so-called antifa, short for anti-fascists, were as violent as those on the “alt right” that were protesting the removal of a Robert E. Lee statue.

“Antifa bused in criminals with bats and pepper spray for the purpose of committing acts of violence targeting anyone who was part of the protest against Charlottesville bringing down the statue of Robert E. Lee, whether associated with the KKK or Nazism or neither,” Zeldin wrote. “In the words of New York Times reporter Sheryl Gay Stolberg, the ‘hard left’ was just at violent at the protest as the ‘alt right’.”

Zeldin did condemn “anyone associating themselves with the KKK and Nazism” and argued that Trump also “repeatedly” condemned those groups. He also said that the “hard left” and the “alt right” are “not equal,” but he again defended Trump for placing blame on both sides.

“I would add though that it is not right to suggest that President Trump is wrong for acknowledging the fact that criminals on both sides showed up for the purpose of being violent. That particular observation is completely true,” Zeldin argued.

“There is an element of our country that has pledged to resist, oppose, and obstruct this President entirely on absolutely everything and anything and to this population the President cannot say or do absolutely anything at all that they won’t criticize as long as he is in the office he was elected to serve in last November,” he added.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Caitlin MacNeal is a News Writer based in Washington, D.C. Before joining TPM, Caitlin interned and wrote for the Huffington Post, the Sunlight Foundation and Slate. She is a graduate of Georgetown University.
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