- Drew Angerer/Getty Images
President Donald Trump’s press conference at Trump Tower in New York City on Tuesday afternoon quickly went off the rails after reporters questioned his response to the violence at the “Unite the Right” white-nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, on Saturday, which left one counter-protester dead and many others injured.
In his initial statement on Saturday, Trump pinned the blame “on many sides” while not specifically condemning white nationalists.
After widespread criticism, Trump on Monday made another statement, denouncing neo-Nazis and KKK members as “repugnant” and specifically calling out the “hatred and bigotry” at the rally.
On Tuesday afternoon, however, at a press conference billed as being about infrastructure, Trump doubled down on his assertion that the violence was caused by “bad actors” on both sides. He equated what he called “the alt-left” with the “alt-right” at the rally and said that not all those participating were neo-Nazis or white supremacists.
Trump’s new chief of staff, John Kelly, who was brought in to help discipline the White House, looked especially displeased with how the press conference panned out.
Maggie Haberman, a political reporter at The New York Times, said on Tuesday that she had been informed by Trump’s staff that he wouldn’t be answering questions following the infrastructure announcement – but he “chose to overrule his staff.”
Kristin Donnelly, an NBC News reporter, has the photo – Kelly is on the far left:
John Kelly during the President's Q and A at Trump Tower pic.twitter.com/vxR3hTUqe3
— Kristin Donnelly (@kristindonnelly) August 15, 2017
And Al Drago has another angle:
John Kelly, WH chief of staff, listen as President Donald Trump speaks at Trump Tower lobby this afternoon. pic.twitter.com/EBNPx1UJbv
— Al Drago (@Al_Drago) August 15, 2017
NBC has a video breaking down Kelly’s facial expressions:
WATCH: White House chief of staff John Kelly reacts to President Trump's latest remarks on violence in Charlottesville, Virginia. pic.twitter.com/O9gwSCxwp8
— NBC News (@NBCNews) August 16, 2017