Mike Pence Backs Up Trump: ‘I Stand By The President’

Vice President Mike Pence speaks at a rally to gather support for the Republican plan for the repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act at the Trans Parts and Distribution Center, Saturday, March 11, 2017, in Louisville, Ky. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)
Timothy D. Easley/FR43398 AP

Vice President Mike Pence is standing by President Trump in the wake of Trump’s off-the-rails press conference in he assigned blame to “both sides” for violence at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia over the weekend.

“What happened in Charlottesville was a tragedy and the President has been clear on this tragedy and so have I. I spoke at lengths about this heartbreaking situation on Sunday night in Colombia. And I stand by the President and I stand by those words,” Pence said, speaking from Chile on Wednesday. He said he is planning to end his weeklong trip to Latin America early and return to the U.S. Thursday. Pence was originally scheduled to return to the U.S. on Friday.

Trump said Tuesday that the “alt-right” and the “alt-left” were to blame for the violence that broke out at a rally in Charlottesville, Va., when a self-proclaimed white supremacist allegedly drove his car into a crowd of counter-protesters and killing one woman named Heather Heyer.

The vice president said Wednesday “our hearts are in Charlottesville” with the family and friends who gathered to “say farewell to a remarkable young woman.”

“We’ve been praying, we’ve been praying for God’s comfort for her family and her friends and we are also praying in America, we will not allow the few to divide the many,” he said. “The strength of the United States of America is always strongest, as the President has said so eloquently, when we are united. Around our shared values and so it will always be.”

Pence’s comments come after Trump has received widespread criticism — and praise from known white supremacists — for his comments during an unhinged press conference where he seemed to defend white supremacists. 

“I think there’s blame on both sides,” Trump said Tuesday.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Nicole Lafond is a news writer for TPM based in New York City. She is also currently earning a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University and previously worked as an education reporter at The News-Gazette in Champaign, Ill. Follow her on Twitter @Nicole_Lafond.
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