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WND And The 'Charlottesville Lie' Lie

WorldNetDaily has repeatedly defended Donald Trump over his comment that there were good people on both sides of the Charlottesville violence -- but censors one important fact that undermines it.

By Terry Krepel
Posted 8/17/2021

Art Moore

WorldNetDaily has served as an enthusiastic Donald Trump apologist throughout his presidency and beyond -- just ask editor Joseph Farah, who has been quite the fanboy. As part of that, WND has been diligently working to put a revisionist spin on Trump's declaration following a 2017 white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va., that turned violent, then deadly when a counter-protester was struck and killed by a car driven through a crowd by a protester on the side of the supremacists.

A prime example of this defense came from WND columnist Michael Brown, who spent a December 2019 column complaining about the "power of the lie":

Speaking of the hatred that united the Jersey City shooters and the synagogue shooters in Poway and Pittsburgh, Biden then blamed President Trump for this hateful climate.

He said, "After Charlottesville, instead of condemning a naked display of hatred, Trump assigned a moral equivalence between those streaming through the night with torches, chanting anti-Semitic bile – and the courageous neighbors and activists who stood against them. He gave license and safe harbor to white supremacists, Neo-Nazis, and the KKK."

He continued, "As I said after Charlottesville, we are in a battle for the soul of this nation. And, it's why I am running for president."

The only problem is that Trump did not say that "those streaming through the night with torches, chanting anti-Semitic bile" were very fine people.

To the contrary, on Aug. 12, 2017, the day of the Charlottesville protests, he said, "I think there is blame on both sides.

"You had some very bad people in that group" (referring to those protesting the removal of a confederate statue). "But you also had people that were very fine people, on both sides."

Then, two days later, Trump issued a categorical statement, saying, "Racism is evil and those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs, including the KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and other hate groups."

How on earth could anyone get this wrong? And how on earth, now more than two years later, could former Vice President Biden's claim that, "He gave license and safe harbor to white supremacists, Neo-Nazis, and the KKK"?

Read Trump's words again; then read Biden's words again. This is willful misrepresentation.

Not only so, but the next day, on Aug. 15, at a wide-ranging press conference, Trump said again that "we condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry, and violence."

And in answer to another question, he explained exactly what he meant by the "very fine people." He said, "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."

That's who he was talking about.

Well, no. The group that was protesting the removal of the Confederate statue and Robert E. Lee park renaming was a group calling itself American Warrior Revolution, which considers itself a militia and later effectively blaming liberal counterprotester Heather Heyer for her own death in getting mowed down by a car driven by white supremacist James Fields Jr.

In other words, what Brown is calling the "Charlottesville Lie" isn't a lie at all. Not that Trump defender Brown will ever admit it:

He could not have made himself clearer. And anyone with an open heart and mind – really, anyone who simply wanted to know the truth – would understand exactly what he was saying.

What is so frightening is that people – millions of people – believe the lie. And they believe it to the point that, if you're white and you voted for Trump, then you are, by default, a white nationalist, a racist.

Of course, Trump's cardinal sin was calling out hatred on the left as well as on the right, speaking against both neo-Nazis and antifa.

And, given his comments in the past about Mexicans and Muslims, which were either exaggerated or taken out of context, it was all too easy to create the Charlottesville Lie.


May God help our nation pursue the truth before a web of lies so entangles us that we can no longer find our way out.

Funny, we don't recall Brown ever holding Trump accountable for the web of lies he has spun over the years.

Other WND-published columnists joined in defending Trump. Ann Coulter wrote in an August 2018 column that "Last year, President Trump blamed 'both sides' for the bedlam at the rally to defend Confederate statues – sending the media into a moral panic. Naturally, Trump also denounced white supremacy, for anyone who missed it the first million times he did so."

In an April 2019 column, Larry Elder insisted that Trump was "widely misquoted," adding: "Why are so many Democrats and members of the media seemingly unaware of what Trump really said? Many know exactly what Trump said and what he meant. But the lie serves a purpose. It advances the Trump-is-racist narrative."

Coulter huffed in a May 2019 column: "I am in no mood to defend Trump, but the media's wholesale lying about Charlottesville is too much for any sane person to take. Everything the media say about it is the very definition of 'fake news.'" Shew went on to insist that "Trump clearly distinguished between the people 'protesting very quietly the taking down of the statue of Robert E. Lee' and 'the bad ones' – the 'neo-Nazis, white nationalists, whatever you want to call them,'" which, again, ignores the fact that "the bad ones" organized the statue protest.

A July 2019 column by Stu Tarlowe, filling in for longtime WND columnist Barry Farber, insisted that the Charlottesville protest "was not a 'white nationalist rally.' The events unfolded in reaction to the city's plan to yield to the pressures of political correctness and historical revisionism and take down a statue of Robert E. Lee, and to re-name the eponymous park where it stood." Tarlowe went on to assert that portraying Trump as praising both sides is a "blatant lie" and a "leftist, anti-American falsity," adding that "These lies have been repeated often enough (in accordance with Dr. Goebbels's maxim that a lie told big enough and repeated enough becomes the truth) that now the mere mention of the word 'Charlottesville,' as uttered by, say, Joe Biden in the video announcing his presidential candidacy (he called Charlottesville 'a defining moment for our nation'), conjures, like the words "Pearl Harbor," an image that will live in infamy."

News-side defense

This dubious defense of Trump also showed up on WND's "news" side. Art Moore complained in a January 2020 article:

At a black Baptist church Sunday commemorating Martin Luther King Jr., former Vice President Joe Biden repeated the false claim that President Trump referred to neo-Nazis as "very fine people" then linked the president to the Ku Klux Klan.


Biden repeated the claim that Trump had in mind neo-Nazis and white supremacists when he said there were "very fine people on both sides" of the debate. In fact, Trump immediately made it clear he was talking about people who wanted to maintain statues of Robert E. Lee and other Confederate figures, not "the neo-Nazis and white nationalists, because they should be condemned totally."

Again, the folks protesting the removal of the statues were not "very fine people."

Moore repeated his defense in an August 2020 article after Biden brought it up in his acceptance speech during the Democratic National Convention, again insisting that "Trump immediately made it clear he was not talking about 'the neo-Nazis and white nationalists,' explicitly declaring 'they should be condemned totally.'" Again, there was no mention of the not-fine nature of the people who organized the protest. Moore also tried to play whataboutism, claiming that "Biden, for his part, weighed in on the controversial Confederate flag issue in a 1993 Senate session declaring that 'many fine people' display it."

WND was still pushing the narrative even after Trump left office. Moore took another crack at it in a Feb. 12 article, complaining that during Trump's impeachment trial, "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 that a Trump defense attorney "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."

Jack Cashill similarly pushed this bogus narrative in his Feb. 17 column:

One useful outcome of this most recent impeachment Kabuki was the exposure of the "very fine people" lie, the one spawned by the media in the wake of the Charlottesville, Virginia, dust-up in August 2017.

So pervasive was the lie that reportedly Trump's attorneys did not even know it was a lie until they began to research it.

Left unexplored, however, even by the conservative media, was how Joe Biden launched his presidential campaign on the wings of this lie and rode it, by hook and by crook, all the way to the White House.


The "fine people" Trump spoke of were those protesting the removal of Robert E. Lee's statue. Trump wondered out loud whether the removal of statues would lead to the removal of George Washington's statue or Thomas Jefferson's.


The Charlottesville gambit was part of a larger strategy to paint Trump as a racist dating back to his challenge of Barack Obama's birth certificate eight years earlier.

Like Moore, Cashill refused to acknowledge that the group organizing against the Lee statue removal was a right-wing militia.

Moore gave the factually deficient defense one more shot in an April 25 article, referencing it while defending Trump against another statement:

It's a claim along with the likes of neo-Nazis are "fine people" that has become a symbol for the left of Donald Trump's diabolical character -- the assertion one year ago that the then-president suggested Americans could inject bleach in their bodies to kill the COVID-19 virus.

But Trump didn't say that, as PJ Media's Matt Margolis documents, just as never said neo-Nazis and white supremacists are "fine people."

Moore did concede, that Trump repeatedly asked whether bleach or other disinfectants could be injected.

Moore went on to lament, "Democrats, including Joe Biden -- who says it was the reason he ran for president -- also haven't stopped repeating the Charlottesville lie," adding that Trump's reference "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." Yet again, Moore omitted the nature of the group that organized the statue protest.

Like a lot of other conspiracy theories, the "Charlottesville lie" lie will not die at WND.

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