During his Tuesday press conference, Trump wondered to reporters whether, in light of demands to take down a statue of former Confederate Civil War general Robert E. Lee, Americans should remove statues of the first and third presidents.
“Was George Washington a slave owner? So, will George Washington now lose his statues?” Trump asked reporters in Trump Tower. He mentioned that both former presidents Thomas Jefferson and George Washington owned slaves.
Trump spoke about his plans for American infrastructure but the press conference quickly turned, after Trump opened it up to questions, to Saturday’s events in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Reporters asked him several questions about the violent protests that occurred in Charlottesville.
Trump defended some of the protesters, saying that they weren’t white supremacists. Instead, he said, they were peacefully protesting the removal of a statue of Lee. “You had many people in that group other than neo-Nazis and white nationalists, okay? And the press has treated them absolutely unfairly.”
Moreover, Trump said, both left-wing and right-wing protesters deserved blame. “I think there’s blame on both sides,” Trump said before ripping the media for dishonestly reporting on the protests.
Both groups, Trump said, had “fine” people but each also included troublemakers.
“I thought what took place was a horrible moment for our country. Horrible moment,” the president opined. “But there are two sides of the story.”