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Trump said 'there's blame on both sides' in Charlottesville


Updated August 15, 2017 04:08 PM EDT

President Trump speaks at Trump Tower.

Updated August 15, 2017 04:20 PM EDT

Trump said many people in the group of protesters in Charlottesville were not white nationalists or neo-Nazis and were simply protesting the removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee.

"You had a lot of people who were there to innocently protest, and very legally protest," Trump said.

He went on to ask whether statues of the founding fathers who owned slaves would be next to be removed.

"I thought what took place was a horrible moment for our country," Trump said, "but there are two sides to every story."

As he left the podium Trump spoke to reporters about his winery in Charlottesville. He said the best way to improve race relations in America is to create more jobs.

Updated August 15, 2017 04:09 PM EDT

President Trump said he "didn't wait long" to condemn white supremacists after the violent clashes in Charlottesville, Virginia, over the weekend.

"I didn't wait long," Trump said. "I wanted to make sure, unlike most politicians, that what I said was correct. The statement i made on Saturday was a fine statement, but you don't make statements that directly unless you know the facts."

Trump said the mother of Heather Heyer, the woman who was killed in Charlottesville, wrote to him and thanked him.

"I didn't know David Duke was there. I wanted to see the facts," Trump said when reporters pressed him on why he waited until Monday to denounce white supremacists in Charlottesville.

"I think the driver of the car is a disgrace to himself, his family and this country. You can call it terrorism, you can call it murder, you can call it whatever you want. I would just call it the fastest one to come up with a verdict. That's the question," Trump said.

"The driver of the car is a murderer and what he did is a horrible thing," the president added.

"What about the 'alt-left' that came charging at the 'alt-right'? Do they have any semblance of guilt?" Trump asked, when a reporter questioned him about the alt-right's role in Charlottesville.

Trump said "I think there's blame on both sides" in Charlottesville, adding that there was also "very fine people on both sides."

Updated August 15, 2017 04:01 PM EDT

President Trump announced Tuesday he will sign an executive order to reform the infrastructure permit process.

"It took 11 months to build the Empire State Building, but today it can take much longer than that," Trump said at Trump Tower.

Trump showed reporters a flow chart to demonstrate the complicated permitting process. He then brought out a much shorter flow chart to demonstrate his proposed changes, saying the process would be much simpler. He said that if a project was not environmentally responsible, it would not be approved.

"We used to have the best infrastructure anywhere in the world and today we are like a Third World country," Trump said.

Trump was asked why CEOs keep leaving the White House manufacturing counsel. "Because they are not taking their jobs seriously as it pertains to this country," the president replied. He went on to say that the CEOs should be focused on bringing jobs and manufacturing back to the U.S.

Trump was joined at the event by Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

President Trump will give a statement about infrastructure Tuesday at Trump Tower.

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