Donald Trump congratulated himself on Thursday about his infamous comments blaming the violence in Charlottesville on both anti-racist and anti-fascist protesters and the neo-Nazis and white supremacists who had gathered there.
“I think especially in light of the advent of Antifa, if you look at what’s going on there, you have some pretty bad dudes on the other side also and essentially that’s what I said,” Trump told reporters onboard Air Force One.
He continued: “When you look at really what’s happened since Charlottesville, a lot of people are saying and people have actually written, ‘Gee, Trump may have had a point.’”
CNN’s Jeremy Diamond captured his full remarks on Twitter:
Trump was referencing his jaw-dropping remarks made at a Trump Tower press conference, where he blamed fascists beating the shit out of counter-protesters and the death of Heather Heyer, who was killed when a car smashed into the crowd, on “both sides”–meaning that Antifa, a loose coalition of anti-fascism protesters, along with other anti-racist activists, were also to blame. That came after the president waited a full two days until after the violence, which stemmed from a rally organized to protest the removal of a Confederate statue in the city, to condemn white supremacists by name.
Setting aside Trump’s love for the “people are saying” construction, which implies popular sentiment where there often is none, there are plenty of conservatives who jumped on board with the president’s anti-Nazi punching, with the National Review, Breitbart, and others praising his words. But plenty of members of Trump’s own party—House Speaker Paul Ryan, Sen. John McCain, and Sen. Marco Rubio among them—took the opportunity to distance himself from his remarks.