August 15, 2017 / 8:27 PM / 3 years ago

Trump says both left- and right-wing groups to blame in Virginia clashes

U.S. President Donald Trump answers questions about his responses to the violence, injuries and deaths at the "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville as he talks to the media in the lobby of Trump Tower in Manhattan, New York, U.S., August 15, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

NEW YORK (Reuters) - President Donald Trump on Tuesday said both sides were to blame in the clashes in Virginia over the weekend, adding that protesters on the political left violently attacked white nationalists rallying against a decision to remove a Confederate statue.

Trump had been sharply criticized for his initial comments blaming “many sides” for the violence in Charlottesville, but on Monday had explicitly condemned right-wing racist elements.

“They came at each other with clubs ... it was a horrible thing to watch,” Trump told reporters in response to questions in the lobby of Trump Tower, before adding that left-wing protesters “came violently attacking the other group.”

Reporting by Jeff Mason; Writing by Tim Ahmann; Editing by Eric Beech

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