— TODAY (@TODAYshow) August 14, 2017
Vice President Mike Pence gave an interview to NBC’s Peter Alexander in which he complained that the media spends more time criticizing President Donald Trump than the “hatred and violence” in Charlottesville.
In the brief interview, which aired Monday morning, the vice president alleged that Trump “stated clearly that he condemns violence in all of its forms.”
Trump’s statement following the Charlottesville terror attack — in which 20-year-old white supremacist James Alex Fields Jr. rammed his car into a crowd of protestors, killing one person and injuring 19 — was widely criticized by everyone from cable news commentators to lawmakers in his own party as shockingly ambiguous.
Nonetheless, Pence told Alexander that the administration “will not tolerate hatred and violence of groups like white supremacists, the KKK and the neo-nazis.”
“We condemn them in the strongest possible terms,” Pence added.
Alexander pointed out that Trump’s statement condemning violence “on all sides” for some reason failed to single out those groups.
“I think the American people heard the president yesterday, speak plainly and condemn, in his words, in the strongest possible terms, organizations that purvey hate and violence,” Pence replied.
Alexander said that many American’s were unsatisfied by Trump’s remarks, including Republican lawmakers like Senator Orrin Hatch:
We should call evil by its name. My brother didn’t give his life fighting Hitler for Nazi ideas to go unchallenged here at home. -OGH
— Senator Hatch Office (@senorrinhatch) August 12, 2017
“He said on many sides,” Alexander noted, “name those sides.”
Pence again said the administration condemns white supremacists “and their ilk,” before noting that there has often been violence at protests from different groups.
And then — because of course — Pence turned his ire towards the media:
“I will tell you Peter that I take issue with the fact that many in the media are spending more time criticizing how the president addressed the issue yesterday —”
“But this is Orrin Hatch and Cory Gardner sir, it’s not me, I’m reading their quotes” Alexander interjected.
“Well many in the media have spent an awful lot of time focusing on what the president said and criticisms of what the president’s said instead of criticizing those who brought that hatred and violence to the streets of Charlottesville, Virginia,” Pence replied.
It’s unclear what makes Pence think that the media has not spent spent adequate coverage on the unrest in Charlottesville, but his comments appear to be a new talking point. In a press conference in Colombia on Sunday night, Pence made almost the exact same remark:
“I will say I take issue with the fact that many in the national media spent more time criticizing the president’s words than they did criticizing those that perpetrated the violence to begin with,” he said.
[image via screengrab]
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