Donald Trump got into a lot of trouble, including with some Republicans, when he responded to the white supremacist violence that took the life of counter-protester Heather Heyer and injured countless others in Charlottesville, Virginia. That occurred in the summer of 2017, nearly two years ago. Now, it seems that Trump is reigniting that controversy.
While speaking with the press at the White House on Friday morning, Trump once again insisted that when he said that there were “very fine people” in that rally, and that he was not talking about the neo-Nazis, white nationalists, or other violent racists. Instead, he said:
“I was talking about people that went because they felt very strongly about the monument to Robert E. Lee, a great general. Whether you like it or not, he was one of the great generals. I’ve spoken to many generals here right at the White House and many people thought — of the generals — they think he was maybe their favorite general. People were there protesting the taking-down of the monument of Robert E. Lee.”
Trump’s remarks come just as former Vice President Joe Biden entered the Democratic presidential primary. In his announcement video, Biden made direct reference to Trump’s seeming sympathies to the white supremacists. He says of the white nationalists Trump’s response to the Charlottesville violence:
“They were met by a courageous group of Americans, and a violent clash ensued. And a brave young woman lost her life. And that’s when we heard the words from the president of the United States that stunned the world and shocked the conscience of this nation. He said there were ‘some very fine people on both sides.’ Very fine people on both sides?”
Accusations of racism have long plagued President Trump, dating back decades. In fact, Vox created a timeline documenting the Trump’s views on race that goes all the way back to the 1970s. To that end, this issue is sure to be a continuing issue into the 2020 race, especially if Trump himself continues to stir that controversy.
Shannon Barber is a progressive queer feminist and budding political scientist. She is passionate about issues of social justice, including but not limited to racial equality, criminal justice reform, pro-Black politics, and LGBTQ equality. She hopes to change the world, one mind at a time.