In one swift motion during Wednesday night’s first and only vice-presidential debate, Vice President Mike Pence fact-checked Sen. Kamala Harris, indicted the media, and corrected a false narrative peddled by the moderator of last week’s presidential debate — all at the same time.
Attacking the Trump administration for what she called a “pattern” of racist behavior, California Democrat Harris said, “[Trump], on the issue of Charlottesville, where people were peacefully protesting the need for racial justice where a young woman was killed, and on the other side, there were neo-Nazis carrying tiki torches, shouting racial epithets, antisemitic slurs. And Donald Trump, when asked about it, said there were fine people on both sides.”
Harris’s talking point was part of an ongoing smear campaign by the media and Democrats to paint the president as a white supremacist sympathizer. Pence didn’t let it slide.
“You know, I think this is one of the things that makes people dislike the media so much in this country,” Pence replied. “That you selectively edit, just like Sen. Harris did, comments that President Trump and I and others on our side of the aisle make. Sen. Harris conveniently omitted after the president made comments about people on either side of the debate over monuments, he condemned the KKK, neo-Nazis, and white supremacists, and has done so repeatedly.”
The vice president is absolutely right. After a 2017 protest-turned-riot in Charlottesville, Virginia, which left one woman dead, the media had a heyday. What started as a peaceful protest and counterprotest over the removal of a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee turned into a violent clash after white supremacists, neo-Nazis, and Antifa showed up.
Despite false reports from the mainstream media, which persist to this day, at a presidential press conference following the riots, just moments after saying there were “very fine people” on both sides of the statue issue at Charlottesville, Trump clarified in no uncertain terms to whom he was referring.
“You had some very bad people in that group,” Trump said of the violent Antifa thugs, white nationalists, and neo-Nazis. “But you also had people that were very fine people on both sides. 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. … You had people — and I’m not talking about the neo-Nazis and the white nationalists because they should be condemned totally — but you had many people in that group other than neo-Nazis and white nationalists.”
Trump was clear, but it didn’t matter. The media spliced part of his quote to paint him as a racist and then blared it all over the headlines, saying Trump called white supremacists “very fine people.”
“Trump Defends White-Nationalist Protesters: ‘Some Very Fine People on Both Sides,’” read a headline from The Atlantic.
The Bulwark went with the simple yet equally dishonest “The ‘Very Fine People’ President” for one of its headlines.
“President Trump calls white supremacists ‘very fine people,’ blames Charlottesville on ‘both sides’ in bizarre Trump Tower tirade,” chimed the New York Daily News.
The latest display of the media peddling this false narrative came just last week courtesy of Fox News’ Chris Wallace, who gave the most embarrassing debate moderator performance in history during the first presidential debate between Trump himself and Joe Biden.
“Vice President Biden, you say that President Trump’s response to the violence in Charlottesville three years ago, when he talked about ‘very fine people on both sides’ was what directly led you to launch this run for president,” Wallace framed one of his questions, legitimizing the blatant media lie.
Wallace’s dig went largely uncorrected during what essentially turned into a two-on-one debate, but Pence set the record straight when he took the stage Wednesday.
“Your concern that he doesn’t condemn neo-Nazis?” the vice president said to Harris. “President Trump has Jewish grandchildren. His daughter and son-in-law are Jewish. This is a president who respects and cherishes all of the American people.”
Right again. While the media and Democrats continue their efforts to portray this administration as racist and xenophobic, especially amid the racial unrest that has swept America’s major cities over the summer, the facts tell a different story. As Pence said Wednesday, “You’re entitled to your own opinions, but you aren’t entitled to your own facts.”
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