President Donald Trump got into a heated clash with reporters over his response to the Charlottesville, Virginia, violence on Tuesday, saying he waited to be specific until the facts came out.
“I didn’t wait long. I didn’t wait long. I wanted to make sure, unlike most politicians, that what I said was correct. Not make a quick statement,” Trump said. “The statement I made Saturday, the first statement, was a fine statement. You don’t make statements that direct unless you know the fact. It takes a little while to get the facts. You still don’t know the facts and it’s a very, very important process to me.”
Trump went on to criticize the media for their coverage of his remarks:
“So making the statement when I made it was excellent. In fact, the young woman who I hear is a fantastic young woman and was on NBC, her mother wrote me and said through, I guess Twitter, social media, the nicest things. I very much appreciated that. I hear she was a fine, actually an incredible young woman. Her mother on Twitter thanked me for what I said. Honestly, if the press were not fake and if it was honest, the press would have said was very nice. Unlike you and — excuse me. Unlike you and unlike the media, before I make a statement, I like to know the facts. “
It was one of the most combative press conferences the president has held to date, with reporters relentlessly grilling him on his views on white nationalist hate groups.
Trump again condemned the racist groups, but he also criticized “alt-left” groups who also commit violence. He said there is “blame on both sides.”
“What about the alt-left that came charging at, as you say, at the alt-right?” Trump added. “Do they have any assemblage of guilt? What about the fact that they came charging with clubs in their hands swinging clubs? Do they have any problem? I think they do. That was a horrible, horrible day.”