What was initially billed as an “infrastructure announcement” devolved into a yelling match between Donald Trump and reporters at Trump Tower in New York City today. Trump started off talking about how he could build highways cheaper if it wasn’t for those pesky regulators, soon pivoted into saying, “we are literally like a third world country,” and opened up to questions soon after. That’s when all hell broke loose.
Asked why it took him two days to condemn white supremacist violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, Trump said, “I wanted to make sure, unlike most politicians, that what I said was correct.” He then read aloud from his instantly infamous Saturday statement, conveniently stopping just before the part where he blamed “many sides” for the murder of Heather Heyer. Speaking of, he then claimed that Heyer’s mother had praised him on Twitter, because everything has to be about how great he is. (He later admitted that he has not actually spoken to Heyer’s family.)
Pressed further about whether the attack was terrorism, Trump said, “you can call it terrorism, you can call it murder” and claimed that he thinks Steve Bannon is a good person, but “we’ll see what happens with Mr. Bannon.” Then, asked a question about John McCain’s statement that the “alt-right” was behind the violence, he dropped this bomb:
Define alt-right to me. No, define it for me. Define it for me. What about the alt-left that came charging at, as you say, the alt-right? Do they have any semblance of guilt? How about the fact that they came charging with clubs in their hands, swinging clubs? Do they have a problem? I think they do.
He went on, shouting, “let me finish, fake news”: “You had a group on the one side that was very bad, and you had a group on the other side that was also very violent. No one wants to say that, but I’ll say that now.”
It continues from there, with Trump defending the majority of “Unite The Right” rally attendees as simply regular, concerned citizens rallying to prevent the removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee and saying that the media has covered them, and the removal of Confederate monuments, “unfairly.” “I wonder is it George Washington one week, and Thomas Jefferson the next?,” Trump wondered aloud. You can witness the whole jaw-dropping spectacle, which ends with Trump casually mentioning he owns a winery in Charlottesville, below.