Donald Trump’s pathological compulsion to never admit he’s wrong has already pushed the president to absurd lengths to squeeze, wring, and bludgeon the truth to render it unrecognizable such that everyone forgets what happened in the first place. On Thursday, Trump again attempted to whitewash the white supremacists' vile behavior—and consequently their even more shameful history—in Charlottesville last month by pushing his argument that “many sides” were responsible for the violence that erupted when counter-protesters clashed with the neo-Nazis literally marching through the city’s streets.
To make Trump’s latest comments more egregious, they came in response to questions about his recent meeting on the issue of his response to white supremacist-provoked violence in Charlottesville with South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott. Scott is not only the sole black Republican in the senate, he is the only black senator to be elected in the South since Reconstruction. Scott met with the president for a half hour Wednesday and carefully articulated why equating neo-Nazis to the counter-protesters, namely the Antifa anti-fascist group, was a problem.
“My response was that, while that’s true, I mean I think if you look at it from a sterile perspective, there was an antagonist on the other side,” Scott said. “However, the real picture has nothing to do with who is on the other side…” “It has to do with the affirmation of hate groups who over three centuries of this country’s history have made it their mission to create upheaval in minority communities as their reason for existence,” he continued. “I shared my thoughts of the last three centuries of challenges from white supremacists, white nationalists, KKK, Nazis. So there’s no way to find an equilibrium when you have three centuries of history versus the situation that is occurring today.”
When asked about the meeting aboard Air Force One Thursday, the Trump takeaway was, essentially: I was right all along. “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 point,” Mr. Trump said. “I said, ‘You’ve got some very bad people on the other side, which is true.’”
Here’s a fuller excpert of Trump's remarks for context:
"We had a great meeting. Tim Scott's been a friend of mine for a long time. I've been a supporter of his—I was one of his earliest supporters. We had a great talk yesterday. I think especially in light of the advent of Antifa, if you look at what's going on there. You have some pretty bad dudes on the other side also, and essentially that's what I said. 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 and people have actually written, 'Gee, Trump might have a point.' I said, 'You've got some very bad people on the other side also,' which is true. But we had a great conversation. And he also has legislation, which I actually like very much, the concept of which I support, to get people going into certain areas and building and constructing and putting people to work. I told him yesterday that's a concept I can support very easily."
"Rome wasn't built in a day, and to expect the President's rhetoric to change based on one 30-minute cnversation is unrealistic," Sen. Scott said in statement responding to the president’s remarks. "Antifa is bad and should be condemned, yes, but the KKK has been killing and tormenting black Americans for centuries. There is no realistic comparison. Period."