Appearing on The View on Monday, Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX) was challenged by hosts Joy Behar and Sunny Hostin when he claimed that President Trump never referred to white nationalists or neo-Nazis as “very fine people” during his response to the deadly 2017 Charlottesville rally.
Towards the end of his multi-segment Monday morning interview, the Texas Republican was asked about his vocal criticism of Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN). Crenshaw, in case you forgot, helped spark conservative outrage against Omar last month, resulting in increased death threats against her when he attacked her for out-of-context remarks about 9/11.
Meghan McCain asked Crenshaw why he felt Democrats were “reluctant to call [Omar] out,” prompting the GOP congressman to reply that it was because “we’re playing a team sport today.”
“We just had a long discussion about how Republicans feel about Trump,” Crenshaw added. “I think you’re seeing the same issues play out on the Democrat side with somebody on their own team and they’re not sure how to handle it even though might, behind closed doors, disagree with what she’s saying.”
Co-host Joy Behar then jumped in, noting that Omar is a new congresswoman before contrasting conservatives’ reaction to her with the president’s Charlottesville response.
“On the right, what we have is the President of the United States in Charlottesville saying there are good people on both sides and people are yelling ‘Jews will not replace us.’ There are not good people on both sides,” she exclaimed.
Crenshaw interrupted, claiming that “in the same sentence” the president said that he was “definitely not referring to white nationalists.” (This, however, is not entirely true, as the president insisted there were “very fine people” on the side of a rally organized entirely by white supremacists and neo-Nazis.)
“Why do you apologize for him?!” Behar shot back, causing Crenshaw to double down on his defense, telling her she needed to “read what he actually said.”
Hostin, meanwhile, claimed that Trump didn’t admonish white supremacists in the same sentence but rather in a fumbling later statement.
As they continued to argue about whether or not Trump condemned white nationalists, McCain rallied to Crenshaw’s defense, saying she didn’t “think it matters” because “bigotry and any kind of statements like these should be called out.”
As for Crenshaw’s assertion that Trump said he wasn’t referring to white nationalists during his Aug. 15, 2017 remarks, this really comes down to hair-splitting and not looking at the comments in a larger context.
“Excuse me, they didn’t put themselves down as neo-Nazis, and you had some very bad people in that group,” Trump said at the time. “But you also had people that were very fine people on both sides.”