President Donald Trump took to the podium at Trump Tower Tuesday for an infrastructure presser that quickly took a turn into a heated back and forth on his Charlottesville comments.
Trump, who appeared to have prepared statements from his Saturday statement on Charlotteville close at hand for the conference, decided to go off-script instead and open the floor for questions. As reported by the Los Angeles Times, reporters asked questions about the president’s remarks on the Charlottesville protests, in which he failed to condemn white nationalists at Saturday’s rally.
Trump reiterated his initial statement about the incident, where he placed blame for the violence “on many sides,” and went on to say that counter protesters against the white nationalists in Charlottesville were also at fault. He went on to say that not all protesters of removing the General Robert E. Lee statue at the rally were white supremacists, and asked if historical connections to George Washington and Thomas Jefferson should be erased because they were slave owners. The president also condemned the white nationalist who was charged with driving his car into a group of counter-protesters, which killed one woman.
So what is the fallout from Trump’s press conference? Will his base be supportive of his statements about Charlottesville? And how are Republicans and Democrats reacting?
Charles Kesler, professor of government at Claremont McKenna College and editor of the Claremont Review of Books
Sean T. Walsh, Republican political analyst and partner at Wilson Walsh Consulting in San Francisco; he is a former adviser to California Governors Pete Wilson and Arnold Schwarzenegger and a former White House staffer for Presidents Reagan and H.W. Bush