About an hour into a wide ranging radio interview on Friday with conservative radio personality Mark Levin, President Donald Trump took a stab at explaining exactly what he meant when he said there were “very fine people on both sides” of the neo-Nazi march that ended in the death 32-year-old counter-protester Heather Heyer, in Charlottesville in 2017.
Levin, having hashed over the Mueller report with the president ad nauseam, had one last topic while he still had the president on the line.
“Bernie Sanders believes terrorists should be able to vote,” Levin said as a way of introduction into the topic. “Joe Biden has announced the other day that he wants to run and he’s got a history of actually supporting segregation back in the 70s. He starts attacking you for Charlottesville.”
Levin then makes it clear that he has gone back through the audio tapes of the president’s comments in which he said that there were “some very fine people” on both sides of the issue.
“You never said anything positive about neo-nazis and klansmen, but they continue to push that line, don’t they?” Levin asked.
“That’s a terrible thing that they keep bringing up,” the president responded. “And I actually said, two different ways. And I actually said it every way you can say it. But I said you had bad people in both groups and I said you had good people in both groups.”
Levin then prompted the president, “And by groups you mean protestors, not the Klan and neo-nazis?”
The president then said that absolutely yes, that’s just what he meant.
“If you remember, that started over the statue of probably the greatest general in the history of our country in terms of strategic brilliance,” he said. “If you go to generals, a lot of generals I work with many of them, think that strategically and in many ways Robert E. Lee was the greatest general they have in Charlottesville where I have a big property, where I have a big house, the John Kluge estate.”
“You know will you go and you look at this incredible–what was–incredible statue of Robert E. Lee on a horse and many of those people were from University of Virginia. They were from all around the neighborhood, the area,” he said. “They just wanted to protest the fact that they want to take down the statue of Robert E. Lee now there were a lot of good people in that group and they were protesting the taking down of statues.”
Levin did not fact check the president or clarify that there were no University of Virginia protesters carrying tiki torches that day who were not part of the Unite the Right neo-nazi movement or those protesting the march.