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Aug. 15, 2017, 5:07 p.m. EDT

Trump rips ‘alt-left’ as he again blames both sides for Charlottesville violence

‘We’ll see what happens’ with Steve Bannon, Trump says

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By Robert Schroeder, MarketWatch


Reuters
President Donald Trump speaks about the violence in Charlottesville as he talks to the media at Trump Tower in New York on Tuesday.

President Donald Trump late Tuesday again assigned blame to both sides for last weekend’s violence in Charlottesville, Va., reverting to his original statement about the incident after saying “racism is evil” on Monday.

In a testy exchange with reporters at Trump Tower in New York, Trump said, “you had a group on one side that was bad and you had a group on the other side that was also very violent. Nobody wants to say that.”

He said, “what about the ‘alt-left’ that came charging...at the ‘alt-right’? Do they have any semblance of guilt?”

Trump on Monday condemned white supremacists, neo-Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan, two days after a woman died in Charlottesville after being run over by a car. The car had driven into a crowd of people protesting a white-nationalist rally on Saturday.

Trump did not initially call out white supremacists, instead blaming “hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides.” Members of both parties criticized him for his early statement, and chief executives of three major companies, as well as the leader of a manufacturing group, have since quit a White House council.

Read: Fourth leader steps down from Trump’s manufacturing council.

Asked why he did not say on Saturday that white supremacists were to blame, Trump said he wanted to make sure he had the facts straight.

“When I make a statement, I like to be correct,” he said.

Trump also gave a tepid endorsement of his chief strategist Steve Bannon, saying, “we’ll see what happens” with him. “He is a good person and I think the press treats him frankly unfairly.”

The New York Times reported late Monday that Bannon is in “limbo” as Trump faces growing calls to oust him. Bannon ran the Breitbart website, which he called a “platform for the alt-right.”

Robert Schroeder is a reporter for MarketWatch in Washington. Follow him on Twitter @mktwrobs.

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