IN SEARCH OF WHAT TRUMP ACTUALLY SAID: Mark Shields reports what Donald Trump said!


Huckabee Sanders says different:
What in the world did Donald Trump say about those neo-Nazis? About those white supremacists, the ones who chanted those anti-Semitic slogans?

What in the world did Donald Trump say? Last Friday night, on the PBS NewsHour, Mark Shields offered his account. For the tape and the transcript, click here.

Michael Gerson had already criticized the way House Democrats responded to remarks by Rep. Ilhan Omar—remarks which many people had described as anti-Semitic.

Shields agreed, in part. "I'm not in any way defending or rationalizing what I think the congresswoman from Minnesota has said rashly," the genial, highly-paid journalist said. Soon after, he added this:
SHIELDS (3/8/19): The Democrats had to confront [Omar's remarks]. There's no question about it. But, I mean, we're talking about a president, Judy—let's be very blunt about it—who, when the white supremacists marched through the streets of Charlottesville with torches, saying, "Jews will not replace us," said there's good people on both sides.

I mean, so this is— If you want to see anti-Semitism—

GERSON: And we should condemn him too. I'm for that.
That was Shields' account of what Trump said. In Shields' account, when the white supremacists marched through the streets of Charlottesville with torches, saying, "Jews will not replace us," Trump said there were good people on both sides.

"If you want to see anti-Semitism," there it was! So Shields rather plainly said.

At this point, it might be wise to establish a small bit of chronology. The ludicrous people who marched through the UVa campus emitting the ludicrous chant quoted by Shields did so on Friday evening, August 11, 2017.

The statement by Trump which Shields slightly misquoted was made four days later, on Tuesday, August 15.

Trump's remarks that day were made during a 23-minute presser by Trump in the lobby of Trump Tower. This constituted Trump's second live statement about the events in Charlottesville. Beyond that, the White House had already issued two other written statements in Trump's name.

"You also had people that were very fine people, on both sides," Trump said at one point during the August 15 presser. This statement has been quoted, or shown on tape, again and again in the past week, with reference to his typically demagogic claims about alleged anti-Semitism on the part of Democrats.

"You also had people that were very fine people, on both sides," Trump said on August 15. For people who want to be fair and even reasonable in their assessments of what Trump said, the question would be this:

Were the white supremacist neo-Nazis one of the two "sides" to which Trump referred in that statement? Was he saying that there were "very fine people" within that group?

That would be the obvious question. Is that what Trump said and meant?

To Shields, the answer rather plainly seemed to be yes, and Gerson rushed to agree. Then too, we had Jim Acosta and April Ryan, carrying the banner of CNN in Monday's "quarterly briefing" by Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

In yesterday's report, we showed you the bulk of that exchange. We'll post the basic transcript again, this time including Sanders' response to Ryan:
ACOSTA (3/11/19): The president, after Charlottesville, saying that there are "very fine people on both sides" in Charlottesville, essentially suggesting that there are very fine people in the Nazis.

HUCKABEE SANDERS: That's not at all what the president was stating, not—not then, not at any point. The president has been incredibly clear and consistently and repeatedly condemned hatred, bigotry, racism in all of its forms, whether it's in America or anyone else, and to say otherwise is simply untrue. April?

RYAN: ...That's kind of along what I was asking. Since the president did say that in Charlottesville, some "very fine people on both sides," has he, in your opinion, or has he or us [sic], cause I don't remember it, condemned the neo-Nazis in Charlottesville for their actions against the Jewish Americans there?

HUCKABEE SANDERS: The president has condemned neo-Nazis and called them by name, which is what we are asking Democrats to do when they see this same type of hatred.
Acosta and Ryan each quoted from Trump's August 15 presser, in which he made the statement about "very fine people on both sides."

According to Acosta, Trump was "essentially suggesting that there are very fine people in the Nazis" when he made that widely-cited remark.

"That's not at all what the president was stating," Huckabee Sanders said.

Ryan, who only works from memory, eschewing the use of transcripts or tape, then asked Huckabee Sanders if Trump has ever "condemned the neo-Nazis in Charlottesville" for their conduct there.

According to Huckabee Sanders, yes he has! "The president has condemned neo-Nazis and called them by name," she said.

Ryan, who only works from memory, has no recollection of any such statement. But is it possible that Huckabee Sanders' statement could be right?

Tomorrow, we'll start assessing that question. That said, we want you to remember what we are, and what we aren't, trying to do this week.

We aren't trying to evaluate President Donald J. Trump. We aren't trying to decide if his remarks about Charlottesville were as perfect as our remarks were. We aren't even trying to say if his remarks were adequate.

We won't be evaluating Donald J. Trump in what follows. Instead, we'll be evaluating the nation's upper-end journalists, as we've done for twenty years at his site.

We'll be evaluating the statements made by Shields and Acosta and Ryan. Also, by Anderson Cooper and Erin Burnett, whose accounts of What Trump Said we reviewed in yesterday's report.

We'll also evaluate the NewsHour's Nick Schifrin, who spoke on last Thursday night's program. Hosting a segment about this recent firestorm, Schifrrin said this about that:
SCHIFRIN (3/7/19): Jeremy Ben-Ami, I want to bring up President Trump. You mentioned him before.


In Charlottesville, when white supremacists chanted "Death to Jews" there, the president said there were "fine people on both sides," and more recently suggested activist George Soros, who's Jewish, might have funded the campaign—or the caravan, rather—coming up from Mexico.

Is that accelerating anti-Semitism?
Rather plainly, Schifrin seemed to say that Trump was referring to white supremacists when he made his remark about "fine people on both sides." Is that a fair and reasonable assessment of what Trump said and meant?

Did Donald Trump say there were very fine people among the white supremacists who marched in Charlottesville? Did he say there were very fine people among the Nazis and/or neo-Nazis there?

In the course of the past week, the airwaves have spilled with well-known journalists saying that that's what Donald Trump said. In fairness, though, we've seen these people engage in group misquotation before.

We've seen such tribal behavior before. Has this familiar type of group misstatement occurred again this time?

Tomorrow: One brave pol was willing to denounce neo-Nazis by name!


  1. Yeah, Mark 'Goebbels Would Be Proud Of Me' Shields, and other dembots of liberal mass-media.

    Working non-stop for the liberal-globalist establishment, destroying the president elected by the working people of America.

    And thanks you, Bob, for recording the atrocities.

  2. No one believes anything a leftist says except the very stupid, and they are already Democrat voters. The only thing the dembots achieved so far with screeching WHITE SUPREMACIST is getting Trump elected and a conservative packed court.

    If campaign finance laws were fair Trump would have to pay clowns like Acosta and Schifrin for their contributions to his guaranteed re-election.

    1. So you appreciate Acosta and Schifrin’s contributions to Trump’s re-election? Sounds like you welcome it. And yet, Trump continues to bite the hand that feeds him.

    2. Whatever it takes to ease your mind about voting for a racist, grifting, self-admitted sexual predator as the USA's President, 10:59.
      No Democrat, or any other person is going to stop you from voting your conscience.

      In other news, Republicans are who we thought they were.

    3. 10;59,
      I get why you're blaming the Democrats for Trump being President, but why are you blaming it on them for "screeching WHITE SUPREMACIST", and not for passing the Civil Rights Act of 1964?

    4. "In other news, Republicans are who we thought they were. "

      No Republican cares what any leftist thinks. Republicans regard leftists as unintelligent and morally defective.

    5. Nah, "morally defective" is excessive, unnecessary, and you lower yourself to their level.

      Liberals are stupid - and that's all there is to it. Nothing else.

    6. "No Republican cares what any leftist thinks."

      Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.
      Pay no attention to Republican's own cable news network, which spends every single day caring (deeply) about what EVERY leftist thinks.

      Troll harder, shithead.

  3. Trump, 8/12/2017:
    “We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides, on many sides. It's been going on for a long time in our country.”

    That was his first statement about Charlottesville. He talked about hate, bigotry, and violence “on many sides”, that have been “going on for a long time in our country.”

    His fourth statement, on 8/15/2017, which was his second verbal statement, contained the language “You also had people that were very fine people, on both sides.”

    So, Somerby’s “obvious” question (“Were the white supremacist neo-Nazis one of the two "sides" to which Trump referred in that statement?”) only applies to Trump’s second/fourth statement.

    But a legitimate and “obvious” question concerning Trump’s first utterance would be “were the anti-supremacists at the rally one of the “many sides” exhibiting “hate, bigotry, and violence”, and is that a side that has historically exhibited these traits?”

    It strikes many as, let’s say, odd that someone (Trump for example) would, in the face of overt racist and anti-Semitic rhetoric that night, and the murder of a young woman by someone espousing such views, find some equivalent hate, bigotry, or violence in the side opposing such things.

    It is also highly objectionable for Somerby to continue referring to the neo-Nazis and their ilk as “ludicrous”, given that that young woman was murdered.

    1. Leftist racist agitators and their Democrat media accomplices caused the murder of cops. Millions of leftist women murder their own babies every year. If you're keeping score leftists are beating the neo-Nazis in the murder stakes.

    2. One third of woman of child bearing age in the USA have had an abortion. It is bi-partisan. Do we need to list the conservative polls who suddenly thought abortion was a good idea when their daughter or paramour got knocked up? Get real.

    3. "Leftist racist agitators and their Democrat media accomplices caused the murder of cops."

      Nice try. It was the NRA and they're "fight the tyranny of the government" with 2nd Amendment Rights, which caused the murder of cops.
      Why are you calling the NRA "Leftist racist agitators"? Is it because you can no longer defend them after they were caught laundering Russian oligarch money during the 2016 Presidential campaign?

    4. "It was the NRA and they're "fight the tyranny of the government" with 2nd Amendment Rights, which caused the murder of cops. "

      Dembot, if you really do believe that NRA types are likely to be cop killers, then you're far more demented than I expected.

      Just for the laughs, could you expand on that theory a bit, please?

    5. Perhaps you are correct, Mao. After all, just because a Right-wing organization says something (in this case that the 2nd Amendment is to be used fighting the tyranny of the government), it in no way means they actually believe it.
      It's the main reason why nobody should listen to a Right-winger's mush-mouthed nonsense.

    6. Dear dembot. Tell your dembot manager that knowing something about the NRA might help in bullshitting about the NRA without embarrassing the whole dembot enterprise in a very transparent way.

    7. Right-wingers don't even know what they're saying, nevermind believe it.
      It's the reason Bob criticizes the left, not the right.
      Babies poop in their diapers. Adults aren't supposed to.

  4. “we'll be evaluating the nation's upper-end journalists, as we've done for twenty years at his site.”

    Sure. But there’s also this:

    “Sullivan rattles the long and the short!

    FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 15, 2019”


    This is a post in which Somerby quotes, apparently approvingly, from an Andrew Sullivan column about Rep. Omar.

    Sullivan’s complaints about Omar include her using a “classic anti-Semitic trope” and her apparently rude or uncivil treatment of Elliott Abrams (this latter was printed in bold by Somerby).

    Then Somerby, apparently agreeing with Sullivan, goes on a multi-paragraph rant about “We stampede after gossip and fictions. We love our loathing of Them”, where he is clearly talking about Omar, and NOT offering a critique of the JOURNALIST Sullivan.

    And, as a postscript, just yesterday, Somerby is now trying to show some sympathy towards Omar because of her background.

    Pick a side.

  5. It seemed pretty obvious to me that Trump was referring to the folks that wanted to keep Confederate Army symbols and those that wanted to remove them ("Fine people on both sides").

    His language could have been clearer, sure, but this is clearly quoting him out of context.

  6. The President has condemned racism and anti-semitism at the same time practicing both. So this does not make him innocent.

  7. The ludicrous people who marched through the UVa campus emitting the ludicrous chant quoted by Shields did so on Friday evening, August 11, 2017.

    Was it ludicrous, tho? Who's running this government that's mass-importing people from all over the world as the death rate of whites exceeds the birth rate in 16 states? Who could it be, now?

    52% of Top 50 donors were Jews
    66% of the money came from Jews
    56% of the GOP's money came from Jews
    76% of the Dem's money came from Jews

    Furthermore, if you look into the Hart-Cellar act of 1965 which radically altered our immigration system and subsequently the demographics of this nation (90% white at the time), you will find it's the culmination of over 50 years of sustained by jewish interest groups.

    So were they wrong that jews are indeed trying to replace them? No. Or maybe it's ludicrous to not want to be replaced?

    1. Whitey can pull himself up by his bootstraps, or he can play the victim card.
      Just kidding. Everyone knows whitey can only play the victim card.

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