Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr., a longtime ally of President Donald Trump, defended his controversial response to violence at a white supremacist protest in Charlottesville, Virginia last week.
In an interview on ABC’s “This Week,” Falwell repeatedly praised Trump’s defense of some of the protesters at the neo-Nazi rally in Virginia, suggesting that the president knew information about the attendees that wasn’t shared with the public.
“He has inside information that I don’t have,” Falwell said. “I don’t know if there were historical purists there who were trying to preserve some statues. I don’t know. But he had information I didn’t have.”
When pressed by host Martha Raddatz to clarify what inside information Trump allegedly had, Falwell added: “I think he saw videos of who was there. I think he was talking about what he had seen, information that he had that I don’t have.”
During several responses to the protests in Charlottesville, including a free-wheeling press conference on Tuesday, Trump said “many sides” were responsible for the violence that left three people dead, placing equal blame on neo-Nazis and the counter-protesters there to condemn them.
“Not all of those people were neo-Nazis, believe me,” Trump said on Tuesday. “Not all of those people were white supremacists.”
Many of the white supremacist protesters chanted “Jews will not replace us,” marched with torches, and flew flags with swastikas.
No members of the Trump administration appeared on the political talk shows shows on Sunday, an unusual decision following a turbulent week for the administration in which it lost its top political adviser and faced serious backlash.
When ABC reached out to the administration to book a spokesperson, the administration told “This Week” to book Falwell, a longtime Trump ally.
Falwell’s unflinching support for Trump, which did not even falter following the release of a tape in which Trump crudely boasted about grabbing women without their permission, has garnered some backlash from students and alumni at the Christian university that Falwell’s father founded.
In the wake of Charlottesville, some Liberty University alumni announced they would return their diplomas to the school in protest of Falwell’s continued support for Trump.
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— This Week (@ThisWeekABC) August 20, 2017