Trump’s revisionist Charlottesville history omits infamous ‘many sides’ remark

The president reimagined history at a rally Tuesday.

President Donald Trump pauses before speaking at a "Make America Great Again," rally at the Phoenix Convention Center, Tuesday, Aug. 22, 2017, in Phoenix. CREDIT: AP Photo/Alex Brandon
President Donald Trump pauses before speaking at a "Make America Great Again," rally at the Phoenix Convention Center, Tuesday, Aug. 22, 2017, in Phoenix. CREDIT: AP Photo/Alex Brandon

Much of President Donald Trump’s speech at a rally Tuesday in Phoenix, Arizona seemed to be on script, but he edited at least one thing.

At the rally, Trump rehashed his response to the Unite the Right rally that brought together white supremacists, neo-Nazis, and KKK members two weekends ago in Charlottesville. The rally resulted in the death of one woman who was killed when a white supremacist drove his car into a group of counter-protesters.

In his original remarks the day of the United the Right rally, Trump said there was violence “on many sides,” a comment that drew swift condemnation from across the political spectrum.

At his rally in Arizona, Trump began to criticize how the media had covered his response to the rally and the death of the woman, Heather Heyer, but left out the controversial phrase when he began to re-read his original comments.

“So here is my first statement when I heard about Charlottesville,” Trump said. “I don’t want to bore you with this, but it shows you how dishonest they are. And most of you know this anyway. So here’s what I said really fast. Here’s what I said on Saturday.”

Trump took out a paper from his jacket and began reading the remarks from August 12.

“We’re closely following the terrible events unfolding in Charlottesville, Virginia,” Trump said. “This is me speaking. We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry, and violence. That’s me speaking on Saturday. Right after the event.”

The next quote Trump read from the speech was, “It has no place in America. What is vital now is a swift restoration of law and order and the protection of innocent lives. No citizen should ever fear for their safety, security in our society.”

What Trump left out was the end of the sentence “we condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry, and violence,” which concludes, in the official statement posted on the White House website, with “on many sides.”

When the White House was pressed on the “many sides” comment, a White House spokesman doubled down, saying, “The president was condemning hatred, bigotry, and violence from all sources and sides.”

Two days later, last Monday, Trump finally condemned white supremacists, neo-Nazis, and KKK members by name. But the next day, Trump took his original remarks a step further, saying—at a press conference that was purportedly about infrastructure—that there were “very fine people” who marched in the Unite the Right rally.