White nationalist and alt-right activists are cheering President Trump for defending white-nationalist protesters and placing equal blame on counterprotesters for the violence that ensued in Charlottesville this past weekend at a press conference on Tuesday afternoon.
“Really proud of him,” the alt-right leader Richard Spencer said in a text message. “He bucked the narrative of Alt-Right violence, and made a statement that is fair and down to earth. C’ville could have hosted a peaceful rally — just like our event in May — if the police and mayor had done their jobs. Charlottesville needed to police the streets and police the antifa, whose organizations are dedicated to violence.”
Spencer said he didn’t necessarily view Trump’s remarks as an endorsement of the protesters’ goal; the Unite the Right rally was held to protest the removal of a Robert E. Lee statue. “He was calling it like he saw it,” Spencer, who was one of the leaders of the protest, said. “He endorsed nothing. He was being honest.” Spencer held a press conference in his office and home in Alexandria on Monday in which he said he did not believe Trump had condemned white nationalists in his comments on Monday, in which the president said “racism is evil” and specifically called out white supremacists and the Ku Klux Klan. Trump made those remarks after intense criticism for failing to specifically condemn white-nationalist groups in his initial response.
Thank you President Trump for your honesty & courage to tell the truth about #Charlottesville & condemn the leftist terrorists in BLM/Antifa https://t.co/tTESdV4LP0— David Duke (@DrDavidDuke) August 15, 2017
Trump's statement was fair and down to earth. #Charlottesville could have been peaceful, if police did its job. https://t.co/3FUgmWoiWi— Richard ☝🏻Spencer (@RichardBSpencer) August 15, 2017