Snopes Finally Corrects The Record On Notorious Trump Hoax — Seven Years Later

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Julianna Frieman Contributor
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Snopes, a fact-checking website, issued a correction for the infamous “very fine people” line Trump used, as well as had used against him — seven years later.

Trump delivered remarks at an Aug. 15, 2017 news conference following violent protests in Charlottesville, Virginia over the removal of a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee the weekend prior. For years, Democrats latched onto a claim Trump called neo-Nazis and white supremacists “very fine people” by taking Trump’s comments out of context.

Snopes set the record straight ahead of Thursday’s 2024 presidential debate, acknowledging the presumptive 2024 Republican nominee said neo-Nazis and white supremacists should be “condemned totally.”

“In a news conference after the rally protesting the planned removal of a Confederate statue, Trump did say there were ‘very fine people on both sides,’ referring to the protesters and the counterprotesters. He said in the same statement he wasn’t talking about neo-Nazis and white nationalists, who he said should be ‘condemned totally,'” Snopes acknowledged.

Snopes cited social media posts from spring 2024 for their reevaluated “False” rating of the claim. In a full clip of the August 2017 exchange, Trump told a reporter he was “not talking about the neo-Nazis and the white nationalists.” Snopes also provided a transcription of the interaction in the piece. (RELATED: ‘I Wouldn’t Say The Secret Service Was Thrilled’: Donald Trump Reflects On Historic North Korea Visit)

The reporter began by asking Trump if he puts “alt-left and white supremacists” on the “same moral plane.” Trump responded he was “not putting anybody on a moral plane” and that the group the reporter called “the Left” came at the other side “with clubs.”

“Excuse me, they didn’t put themselves down as neo-Nazis, and you had some very bad people in that group. But you also had people that were very fine people on both sides. You had people in that group — excuse me, excuse me, I saw the same pictures as you did. 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,” Trump said.

“George Washington and Robert E. Lee are not the same,” the reporter said.

Trump told the reporter Washington “was a slave owner” and questioned if the first president should “now lose his status.” Trump criticized the idea of “changing history” before going down a line of former presidents. He asked if Thomas Jefferson’s statue should be taken down before launching an explicit condemnation of neo-Nazis and white supremacists.

“I’m not talking about the neo-Nazis and the white nationalists, because they should be condemned totally,” Trump told the reporter. “But you had many people in that group other than neo-Nazis and white nationalists, okay? And the press has treated them absolutely unfairly.”

President Joe Biden used the Charlottesville incident as the predicate for the April 25, 2019 launch of his 2020 presidential campaign. The first two words the Democratic candidate spoke in his announcement video were “Charlottesville, Virginia” before he quoted Trump’s “very fine people on both sides” remark without context. To the backdrop of dramatic music, Biden said Trump was a “threat to this nation” that was “unlike any I had ever seen in my lifetime.”

The Trump campaign called out the Biden campaign’s use of the “hoax” Sunday.

“The Charlottesville lie was another hoax perpetuated by the corrupt Democrats and their mouthpieces in the fake news media, just like the Hunter Biden laptop, the Russian collusion scandal and so many others, all in an attempt to smear President Trump. Joe Biden’s campaign must end any advertising that pushes this lie because President Trump has, once again, been proven right,” Trump campaign national press secretary Karoline Leavitt posted on X.