President Donald Trump called Sen. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) out on Twitter on Aug. 17 for misrepresenting his comments about the violence in Charlottesville.
In a statement, Graham had accused Trump of taking a “step backward” by “suggesting there is moral equivalency between the white supremacist neo-Nazis and KKK members who attended the Charlottesville rally and people like Ms. Heyer.”
Trump described Graham’s comments on Twitter as “a disgusting lie.”
Graham’s comments referred to a press conference Trump gave at Trump Tower on Aug. 15, in which he said that both sides had been blamed for the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, in which one person was killed.
In his comments Trump made a distinction between extremists on both the right and the left, and those who he described had come to peacefully protest.
“You also had people that were very fine people on both sides,” Trump said. In an article published on Aug. 16, The New York Times interviews a member of a group of normal conservatives, not white supremacists or neo-Nazis, who had traveled to Charlottesville to oppose the removal of the statue of confederate General Robert E. Lee.
Trump condemned the neo-Nazis and white supremacists multiple times during the press conference and reiterated a statement he had made earlier that said “this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence” has no place in America.
He also called out what he described as the alt-left, anarchist and communist groups such as Antifa, for bearing share of the violence.
When asked by a reporter whether he was putting “the alt-left and white supremacists on the same moral plane,” Trump said: “I am not putting anybody on a moral plane. What I’m saying is this: You had a group on one side and you had a group on the other and they came at each other with clubs and it was vicious and horrible. And it was a horrible thing to watch. But there is another side. There was a group on this side, you can call them the left. You have just called them the left, that came violently attacking the other group. So you can say what you want, but that’s the way it is.”
Heather Heyer, 32, was killed when a man drove a car into a group of left-wing protesters, injuring 19 others.
In a Tweet on Wednesday Trump remembered Heyer by calling her “a truly special young woman,” and that “she will be long remembered by all!”
Heyer’s mother, Susan Bro, wrote in response to Trump’s statement on Aug. 12, “Thank you, President Trump, for those words of comfort and for denouncing those who promote violence and hatred.”