by James D. Agresti
Max Boot, a foreign policy expert and historian, recently wrote in the Washington Post that President Trump “praised white supremacists who gathered nearly a year ago in Charlottesville as ‘very fine people’.”
This is an abject falsehood.
At the press conference where Trump allegedly said that, he explicitly “condemned” the white supremacists two times, said they were “very bad people,” and emphasized that he was not calling them “very fine people.” Still, a reporter at the conference tried to put this spin on his words, and Trump responded, “No, no.”
Nonetheless, a wide range of media outlets, politicians, and activists falsely portrayed Trump as lauding the white supremacists.
The full transcript and video of the press conference show that when Trump used the phrase “very fine people,” he was referring to “people protesting very quietly the taking down of the statue of Robert E. Lee.”
Trump also accurately pointed out that the event’s organizers “didn’t put themselves down as neo-Nazis.” In fact, on the day beforehand, the local NBC news station reported that the event was a “protest of the City Council’s decision to remove the statue of confederate General Robert E. Lee from Emancipation Park.” The report contained no mention of white supremacy or anything similar. Hence, some people showed up at the event who had nothing to do with the white supremacists.
More facts concerning false media reports about this issue are available here.
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James D. Agresti is the president of Just Facts, a think tank dedicated to publishing rigorously documented facts about public policy issues. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Brown University and has worked as a designer of jet engine components and systems, a technical sales professional, and chief engineer of a firm that customizes helicopters. He is also the author of Rational Conclusions, a meticulously researched and acclaimed book evidencing factual support for the Bible across a broad array of academic disciplines.