On Tuesday, President Donald Trump led crowds in his first campaign-style rally in Phoenix, the first since a white supremacist rally in Virginia resulted in the death of one counter-demonstrator and nearly two dozen others injured. At the rally, Trump spent much of his time speaking blaming the media for the racial tensions highlighted since Charlottesville.
“Not only does the media give a platform to hate groups, but the media turns a blind eye to the gang violence on our streets, the failures of our public school, the destruction of our wealth at the hands of our terrible, terrible trade deals made by our politicians that should’ve never been politicians, and the hostility to our local police that work so hard and do an incredible job,” he said.
Turning specifically to criticisms he faced across the political spectrum following his initial response on Charlottesville, Trump misquoted and toned down his own statement, leaving out that he blamed people “on many sides” for the violence.
“This is me speaking. ‘We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry, and violence.’ That’s me speaking on Saturday, right after the event.”
He continued with blaming the media for the confusion stemming directly from his several days of contradictory statements following the violence: “Truly dishonest people in the media and the fake media, they make up sources. They don’t report the facts, just like they don’t want to report that I spoke out against hatred and violence and strongly condemned the neo-Nazis, the white supremacists and the KKK.”
The president was playing to his base supporters at the rally, where he was interrupted frequently with chants of “drain the swamp” and “CNN sucks.”