In the Trump presidency, pundits spend days debating the surprising—and often confusing—things Trump says in interviews and tweets. But often, the biggest questions are about what the president leaves unsaid.
After a day of violent protests in Charlottesville, Virginia, on Saturday, President Trump addressed the nation from his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey: “We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides, on many sides.”
The white nationalists who gathered in Charlottesville and the protesters who turned out to challenge them blamed each other. But who, exactly, was Trump blaming?
Saturday’s protests began as a group of white nationalists and white supremacists gathered for a “Unite the Right” rally to protest the city’s decision to remove a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee from a local park. Shortly before Trump’s remarks, a car plowed through a group of counter protesters, killing at least one person and injuring 19 others.
The president did not directly address the car attack—or specifically reference the white-nationalist rally that preceded it. Responding to an NBC reporter’s follow-up questions, a White House official reiterated the president’s statement, emphasizing that “there was violence between protestors and counter protestors today.”