Though he had towed a line between condemning hate groups and declaring equal blame between the alt-right and the protesters against their rally, Trump repeated his initial stance to reporters on Air Force One on Thursday.
In reference to a meeting with South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, the President said, “I think especially in light of the advent of Antifa, if you look at what’s going on there. You have some pretty bad dudes on the other side also, and essentially that’s what I said. Now, because of what’s happened since then with Antifa — you look at really what’s happened since Charlottesville, a lot of people are saying and people have actually written, ‘Gee, Trump might have a point.’ I said, ‘You’ve got some very bad people on the other side also,’ which is true.”
Scott, the lone black Republican in the Senate, has been openly critical of Trump’s comments. During the meeting, Scott discussed the brutal history surrounding the white supremacy movement.
“I didn’t go in there to change who he was. I wanted to inform and educate a different perspective,” Scott said on Thursday. “I think we accomplished that and to assume that immediately thereafter he’s going to have an epiphany is just unrealistic.
The day prior, Scott told reporters that Trump was receptive during their meeting. “He certainly tried to convey what he was attempting to say,” Scott said. “He was trying to convey that there was an antagonist on the other side.”
“My response was that, while that’s true, the real picture has nothing to do with who is on the other side. It has to do with the affirmation of hate groups who over three centuries of this country’s history have made it their mission to create upheaval in minority communities as their reason for existence,” Scott said.