THE SCHEDULE FOR Donald Trump’s first full day back in New York since the start of his presidency entailed walking into the Trump Tower lobby, talking about infrastructure for a few minutes, and immediately re-boarding his golden elevator without taking any questions. Much to Chief of Staff John Kelly’s apparent chagrin, that did not happen.
Instead, Trump opted to take a few questions after his prepared remarks. The assembled reporters naturally had more questions about last weekend’s white nationalist rally in Charlottesville than they did infrastructure bureaucracy. The result? A deluge of remarks suggesting that both sides (Nazis, and those who protested their assembly) shared the blame for Saturday’s violence equally. Trump asserted that he did not initially denounce white supremacists by name until Monday because he didn’t have all available facts until then, and pondered if pulling down a statue of Confederate general Robert E. Lee would lead to the targeting of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson next.