Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) condemned President Trump’s press conference remarks on Tuesday in which the latter addressed the racially motivated attack in Charlottesville, Va. over the weekend.
“I think there is blame on both sides,” the president said at Trump Tower in Manhattan. “You had a group on one side that was bad. You had a group on the other side that was also very violent. Nobody wants to say that. I’ll say it right now.”
In a previous tweet posted on Sunday, Amash asked Trump to specifically condemn white supremacy and those who adhere to that philosophy.
“America’s children are watching,” Amash said. “Denounce white nationalists & their evil ideology. They are enemies of liberty & our Constitution.”
Trump neglected to outright condemn white supremacy at first, citing his desire to wait for “the facts.”
“I wanted to make sure, unlike most politicians, that what I said was correct, not make a quick statement,” Trump said on Tuesday. “The statement I made on Saturday, the first statement, was a fine statement, but you don’t make statements that direct unless you know the fact. And it takes a little while to get the facts. You still don’t know the facts. And it is a very, very important process to me. It is a very important statement. So I don’t want to go quickly and just make a statement for the sake of making a political statement. I want to know the facts. If you go back to my statement, in fact I brought it. I brought it.”
Trump said that there were many others in the Unite the Right group that weren’t “neo-Nazis and white nationalists,” and that they had been treated “unfairly” by the media.
“I’m not talking about the neo-Nazis and the white nationalists, because they should be condemned totally – but you had many people in that group other than neo-Nazis and white nationalists, okay? And the press has treated them absolutely unfairly,” the president said. “Now, in the other group also, you had some fine people, but you also had troublemakers and you see them come with the black outfits and with the helmets and with the baseball bats – you had a lot of bad people in the other group too.”
“You had a lot of people in that group that were there to innocently protest and very legally protest, because you know, I don’t know if you know, but they had a permit. The other group didn’t have a permit. So I only tell you this: there are two sides to a story.”
Amash fired back at Trump’s statement, arguing that “very fine people” would not participate in a rally dedicated to white nationalism.
“Very fine people’ do not participate in rallies with groups chanting racist and anti-Semitic slogans and displaying vile symbols of hate,” he said.
Amash was not the only Republican to condemn the president’s comments. House Speaker Paul Ryan, Senators Hatch, Heller, and Rubio all seemed to make it clear that they do not share the president’s views.