Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden kickstarted his 2020 campaign earlier this week with a video swiping President Trump and comments he made in response to the deadly Charlottesville, Virginia riots in 2017.
Biden said the 2017 incident—where white supremacist came out to oppose the tearing down of a Robert E. Lee statue violently clashed with another group promoting the statue’s removal—and Trump’s verbal response motivated him to run for the presidency.
At the time of the Charlottesville incident, President Trump remarked that there were “very fine people” on both sides of the debate for keeping or removing the statue of the Virginia icon and former Confederate General.
Democrats and members of mainstream media took the comment as saying there were fine people within the ranks of the white supremacist movement, something Trump and his supporters have been constantly asked to defend.
As Politico reports, the president clarified his comments once more in a statement to a group of reporters outside of the White House.
“If you look at what I said you will see that that question was answered perfectly,” Trump contended. “I was talking about people that went because they felt very strongly about the monument to Robert E. Lee, a great general.”
When asked for clarification on his remark about the racially charged clash that left one person dead, Trump stood by his claim made more than 1½ years prior.
The president has received repeated criticism from those arguing he offered moral equivalence between the white supremacists and neo-Nazis who incited the rally and those who protested against them. In the days following the deadly protests, Trump did not denounce the marchers, instead condemning violence on both sides and calling for Americans to “come together.”
At the 2017 rally, participants were protesting the planned removal of a statue of Lee, the head of the Confederate military during the Civil War. The tensions came to head when a man allegedly rammed his car into a group of protesters, killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer.
“Whether you like it or not, he was one of the great generals,” Trump said of Lee on Friday.
Heather Heyer’s mother, Susan Bro, spoke out against Joe Biden’s 2020 presidential campaign for using her daughter in his launch video without alerting her ahead of time.
“Without prior warning to her family, Joe Biden’s 2020 presidential campaign launch video included footage of the 2017 death of Heather Heyer in Charlottesville, Virginia,” BizPac Review reported.
The decision seems to defy common courtesy, the report added.
Bro said she “was not surprised” that Biden invoked her daughter for political gain.
“But I wasn’t surprised,” Heyer’s mother said to The Daily Beast. “Most people do that sort of thing. They capitalize on whatever situation is handy. He didn’t reach out to me, and didn’t mention her by name specifically, and he probably knew we don’t endorse candidates.”