President Donald Trump is standing by his claim that "both sides" were to blame for the violence that erupted in Charlottesville, Virginia. In August, white nationalists took to the streets of the city with tiki torches, yelling things like "blood and soil" and "Jews will not replace us." Three people died during the two-day event dubbed "Unite the Right," including two police officers and counterprotester Heather Heyer.
Just a day after the president was pressed by Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina over his controversial comments, Trump told reporters Thursday while flying on Air Force One that he does not believe that the members of the KKK, white supremacists, white nationalists, and neo-Nazis in attendance were fully culpable for the rally's tragic outcome.
"Now because of what's happened since then, with Antifa, you look at really what's happened since Charlottesville — a lot of people are saying — in fact, a lot of people have actually written, 'Gee, Trump might have a point,'" he said. "I said, 'You've got some very bad people on the other side,' which is true."
The New York Times reported that the president's latest comments mirror the ones he made during a press conference at Trump Tower, in which he drew "a moral equivalence between [hate groups] and the counterprotesters."
At that time, Trump said, "I think there's blame on both sides, and I have no doubt about it, and you don' have any doubt about it either."
Trump later reflected to reporters on his meeting with Sen. Scott, who is currently the only Black Republican in the Senate, and said that they "had a great conversation."
BuzzFeed News contacted Scott on Thursday to ask if he thought the aforementioned discussion had an impact on Trump's Charlottesville stance.
"No, I mean, listen. He is who he has been and I didn't go in there to change who he was," Scott said. "I wanted to inform and educate a different perspective. I think we accomplished that. To assume that immediately thereafter he's going to have an epiphany is just unrealistic."
Hours later, the White House released a statement on Trump signing the Charlottesville Resolution, but, as one Twitter user pointed out, the president failed to mention a single hate group by name.