FILE – In this Feb. 27, 2008 file photo, The Washington Post building in Washington is shown. The Washington Post Co. reported a 69 percent jump in third-quarter profit Friday, Oct. 30, 2009, as its newspapers trimmed their losses and its cable TV and education divisions held steady. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, file)
The Democrats sure have gotten a lot of mileage out of a quote made by President Trump in the aftermath of the August 2017 “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, VA, a protest that resulted in one death and multiple injuries. The quote, “But you also had people that were very fine people, on both sides,” was taken wildly out of context and although proven to be a lie, it has been used by the left as a club to bludgeon the right ever since.
Here is what President Trump actually said:
Excuse me, they didn’t put themselves down as neo-Nazis, and you had some very bad people in that group. But you also had people that were very fine people on both sides. You had people in that group – excuse me, excuse me, I saw the same pictures you did. You had people in that group that were there to protest the taking down of, to them, a very, very important statue and the renaming of a park from Robert E. Lee to another name.
After another question at that press conference, Trump became even more explicit:
I’m not talking about the neo-Nazis and white nationalists because they should be condemned totally.
Even a Fact check by PolitiFact concludes that full context is needed.
Still the Democrats continue to point to this to convince others that he is a racist.
When Joe Biden launched his campaign in April 2019, he explained that when he heard the quote, he knew he had to run. Biden told his supporters, “He [President Trump] said there were, quote, ‘Some very fine people on both sides.’ Very fine people on both sides? With those words the president of the United States assigned a moral equivalence between those spreading hate and those with the courage to stand against it and in that moment I knew the threat to this nation was unlike any other I’d seen in my lifetime.”
Virginia’s Democratic Governor Ralph Northam cited the incident before issuing an executive order in January (2020) to declare an official State of Emergency ahead of the “Lobby Day” protest “due to potential civil unrest at the Virginia State Capitol.”
Immediately after news of the El Paso, TX and Dayton, OH shootings broke last summer, more than a few of the 2020 Democratic candidates recalled Trump saying that “there were very fine people on both sides” following the August 2017 white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, VA. In fact, that pillar of patriotism, James Comey, said it as well.
And on Monday, Washington Post Bureau Chief Philip Rucker, used the memory of those words to say that Trump showed solidarity with the neo-Nazi protesters there.
In an appearance on MSNBC’s “11th Hour” with Brian Williams, Rucker drew a comparison between Americans who are protesting against continued stay-at-home orders and the neo-Nazis in Charlottesville. Trump has shown solidarity with both groups. He is perpetuating what he knows to be a lie. Here are his remarks:
The other thing that the president sees when he looks at images of these protesters like the ones playing right now is he sees his own campaign banner. He knows that these are his supporters. They may not all be his supporters. We’re not sure who they all are going to vote for in November. But many of them are Trump supporters, are waving Trump flags. And Trump, the president, knows that he needs to show some solidarity with them. It’s one of the reasons why, for example, after the Charlottesville attack, he showed solidarity with the neo-Nazi protesters there.
In this case, he’s trying to show solidarity with these folks, saying, I stand with you. I believe in what you believe in, which is getting back to work and reopening this economy. And he has defended their right to protest, which is in direct violation of the social distancing guidelines that his own administration has put out. He also, by the way, has said that when he looks at images of these protests, that they’re definitely more than six feet apart.
We’re looking at images of them tonight. They don’t look like they’re six feet apart. They look a lot closer than that. But I guess it’s in the eye of the beholder.
Rucker knows very well that Trump didn’t stand with the neo-Nazis in Virginia. As a journalist, he also knows how taking a quote out of context can distort the meaning of what’s been said. But, he, being a creature of the swamp, can’t let this one go, because it makes the President look so bad. And that’s just too good.