A defense attorney for President Trump in the Senate impeachment trial on Friday refuted the oft-repeated “Charlottesville lie” that Joe Biden says prompted him to run for president.
House impeachment managers played a selectively edited video of Trump’s 2017 remark on Thursday, claiming he referred to neo-Nazi rioters as “very fine people.”
But David Schoen was ready with the full video, which shows the left has been dishonestly manipulating Trump’s words to back their claim that he is a white supremacist.
“There’s that famous quote, like one of the house managers said, ‘A lie will travel halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to put its shoes on,'” Schoen began.
“Well, this lie traveled around the world a few times, and made its way into the Biden campaign talking points, and ended up on the Senate floor. The Charlottesville lie, ‘very fine people on both sides.’ Except that isn’t all he said, and they knew it then, and they know it now. Watch this.”
Schoen played the video, which can be seen here:
The attorney said after playing the video to senators that it could be that today was “the first time the news networks played those full remarks in the context.”
“And how many times have you heard President Trump has never denounced white supremacists? Now you in America know the truth,” he said.
Schoen charged House impeachment managers manipulated other evidence, noting that in a court of law they would be sanctioned for such actions.
Biden’s ‘call to action’
Biden, in one of many occasions in which he repeated the lie, said during his acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention last summer that Trump’s words in 2017 were “a wake-up call for us as a country” and, for him, “a call to action.”
“At that moment, I knew I’d have to run,” he said.
In fact, during his remarks on Charlottesville, Trump immediately made it clear he was not talking about “the neo-Nazis and white nationalists,” explicitly declaring “they should be condemned totally.”
His reference – as a CNN contributor pointed out in a rebuke to his network colleagues – was to the people on both sides of the issue of whether or not to maintain statues of Robert E. Lee and other Confederate figures.
When Kamala Harris repeated the lie during the vice-presidential debate in October, then-Vice President Mike Pence rebutted her and delivered a word to media who have peddled the lie.
“You know, I think this is one of the things that makes people dislike the media so much in this country. That you selectively edit, just like Sen. Harris did, comments that President Trump and I and others on our side of the aisle make,” Pence said. “Sen. Harris conveniently omitted after the president made comments about people on either side of the debate over monuments, he condemned the KKK, neo-Nazis, and white supremacists, and has done so repeatedly.”
Biden, for his part, weighed in on the controversial Confederate flag issue in a 1993 Senate session declaring that “many fine people” display it.
🚨Joe Biden once said people who "display the Confederate flag" are "fine people." pic.twitter.com/Nqout82fPk
— Trump War Room (@TrumpWarRoom) June 12, 2020
The falsehood persists
In March 2019, CNN contributor Steven Cortes chastised his colleagues for continuing to promote “the Charlottesville lie.”
“Excuse me, they didn’t put themselves down as neo-Nazis, and you had some very bad people in that group,” Trump said at the time. “But you also had people that were very fine people on both sides. You had people in that group – excuse me, excuse me, I saw the same pictures you did. You had people in that group that were there to protest the taking down of, to them, a very, very important statue and the renaming of a park from Robert E. Lee to another name.”
Cortes noted that after another question by a reporter, Trump became even more explicit.
“I’m not talking about the neo-Nazis and white nationalists, because they should be condemned totally,” the president said.
Yet, the “falsehood” persists, Cortes wrote, pointing to CNN contributor Keith Boykin stating the previous week: “When violent people were marching with tiki torches in Charlottesville, the president said they were ‘very fine people.'”
When Cortes objected, arguing Trump’s “fine people on both sides” observation clearly referenced those on both sides of the Confederate monument debate, anchor Erin Burnett insisted Trump “didn’t say it was on the monument debate at all.”
“No, they didn’t even try to use that defense,” the CNN anchor said. “It’s a good one, but no one’s even tried to use it, so you just used it now.”
Cortes also cited MSNBC’s Nicolle Wallace saying Trump had “given safe harbor to Nazis, to white supremacists.”
Her NBC colleague Chuck Todd claimed Trump “gave me the wrong kind of chills. Honestly, I’m a bit shaken from what I just heard.”
The New York Times ran a headline saying “Trump Gives White Supremacists Unequivocal Boost.”
In March 2019, Fox News host Chris Wallace pressed White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney on why Trump had not given a speech “condemning … white supremacist bigotry.”
Mulvaney responded that the president has done so several times, including after the death of Charlottesville victim Heather Heyer.
“Racism is evil,” Trump said, “and those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs, including the KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and other hate groups that are repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans.”
Cortes said “the only explanation for such a repeated falsehood is abject laziness or willful deception.”
‘Ku Klux Klan president’
In January 2020, as WND reported, Biden repeated the falsehood at a black Baptist church commemorating Martin Luther King Jr.
Expressing fear that the progress of the Civil Rights Movement was unraveling, at least in part due to President Trump, Biden referenced the 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville.
“What I realized is that hate just hides,” Biden told the congregation at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Columbia, South Carolina, in reference to his false rendering of Trump’s remark.
“And it when it comes out from under the rocks, when it gets a little bit of oxygen.”
Biden went further.
“This president and his – the Ku Klux Klans and the rest of them, they think they’ve beaten us again but they have no idea. We’re just coming back.”