President Trump's planned statements on infrastructure derailed into explosive comments about the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, in which the president defended his Saturday statement that there was hatred and violence, "on many sides."
Mr. Trump said the "alt-left" bears some responsibility for the violence in Charlottesville, and "nobody wants to say that."
"You had a group on one side that was bad, and you had a group on the other side that was also very violent," Mr. Trump said. "And no one wants to say that. But I'll say that right now."
Mr. Trump was heavily criticized -- even by members of his own party -- for failing to call out the white supremacists at a rally that left one woman dead after a suspected attacker rammed his car into a sea of people. Mr. Trump on Monday, pressured to renounce the Nazi and white supremacist supporters behind Saturday's deadly events, said he renounced Nazis and white supremacists.
But on Tuesday, Mr. Trump circled back to his earlier comments, defending his original statements and saying he wanted to be sure he had all the facts.
"I couldn't have made it sooner because I didn't know all of the facts," Mr. Trump said. "Frankly, people still don't know all of the facts."
The president did condemn the suspected driver, calling him a, "murderer." But he also condemned the "alt-left" groups that "came swinging with clubs."
"I think there's blame on both sides," Mr. Trump said.
The president also made odd comments as he was leaving the podium, referencing his winery in Charlottesville as one of the largest in the country. Mr. Trump asked if people knew he owned a house in Charlottesville, by which he meant, he clarified, his winery.
"I own one of the largest wineries in the United States, and it's in Charlottesville," Mr. Trump said.
Elaine Chao, the transportation secretary, and Gary Cohn, the president's chief economic adviser, were forced to awkwardly come to the podium to take questions from reporters on infrastructure after Mr. Trump's explosive, off-the-cuff remarks.
Mr. Trump is spending the day at New York City's Trump Tower, in the middle of a two-week working vacation mostly spent in Bedminster, New Jersey.
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