Fallout of president’s incendiary speech on Charlottesville march

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President Trump gave a speech that some have described as being off the rails. A press event about an infrastructure bill quickly descended into a confrontation between Trump and reporters over his comments on Charlottesville. Trump doubled-down on his assertion that both sides were responsible for violence at an alt-right march that resulted in the violent death of one protester. We’ll hear what that means for Trump, the Republican Party and our country from Chuck Coughlin, president of Highground Public Affairs Consultants, and state Democratic Representative Reginald Bolding.

TED SIMONS: PRESIDENT TRUMP'S PRESS CONFERENCE YESTERDAY HAS BEEN DESCRIBED AS EVERYTHING FROM FREE-WHEELING TO OFF-THE-RAILS. IT WAS SUPPOSED TO BE A PRESS EVENT ABOUT AN INFRASTRUCTURE BILL, BUT IT QUICKLY DESCENDED INTO THE PRESIDENT DOUBLING-DOWN ON HIS ASSERTION THAT BOTH SIDES WERE RESPONSIBLE FOR VIOLENCE THIS WEEKEND IN VIRGINIA. HERE TO TALK ABOUT THE FALLOUT FROM THE PRESIDENT'S WORDS, CHUCK COUGHLIN, PRESIDENT OF HIGH-GROUND PUBLIC-AFFAIRS CONSULTANTS, AND STATE DEMOCRATIC REPRESENTATIVE REGINALD BOLDING. GOOD TO SEE YOU BOTH BACK HERE. APPRECIATE IT. WHAT DO YOU MAKE OF THAT PRESS CONFERENCE?

CHUCK COUGHLIN: I THINK HE WENT WAY BEYOND WHAT ANY RATIONAL PERSON WOULD HAVE SUGGESTED HE DO THERE. THERE IS NO JUSTIFICATION. EVERYBODY SAID THERE IS NO JUSTIFICATION TO SUGGEST THAT THERE WAS ANY SUPREMACY OVER ANY RACE. MY PASTOR ON SUNDAY SAID THE ONLY THING THAT’S SUPREME IS A PIZZA. GOD IS SUPREME AND EVERYONE IS EQUAL UNDER THAT LAW. TO SAY THERE ARE GOOD PEOPLE ON BOTH SIDES, TO CREATE AN EQUIVALENCY THERE, HE STUMBLED INTO SOMETHING THAT-- AS THE PRESIDENT, THIS IS SOMETHING I TALKED TO GOVERNOR BREWER ABOUT, WHEN YOU SPEAK, YOU DROP ANCHOR. EVERYTHING ROLLS AROUND YOU. HE STILL SEEMS TO NOT UNDERSTAND THE FULL CONSEQUENCES OF HIS ACTIONS.

TED SIMONS: YOUR THOUGHTS ON WHAT HE SAID. DID HIS WORDS SURPRISE YOU?

REGINALD BOLDING: UNFORTUNATELY, HIS WORDS DIDN'T SURPRISE ME. IT WAS OBVIOUS THAT HIS SECOND RESPONSE WAS A RESPONSE PUT TOGETHER BY SOMEONE ON HIS STAFF. IT WAS ABSOLUTELY WHAT I WOULD SAY WAS TRUMP BEING TRUMP. HE ALLOWED HIMSELF TO SPEAK TO HIS HEART, AND UNFORTUNATELY, THAT'S NOT WHAT AMERICA'S ASKING FOR, RIGHT NOW.

TED SIMONS: THERE ARE SO MANY ASPECTS WE CAN DO ON THIS. THE IDEA OF THE ALT LEFT, WHICH I WASN'T AWARE EXISTED, BUT APPARENTLY IT DOES IN SOME MINDS. HE CALLED THE ALT LEFT AND ALT RIGHT BOTH SIDES RESPONSIBLE FOR THE VIOLENCE. IS WHAT HE SAYS VALID?

CHUCK COUGHLIN: I THINK THERE IS A POINT THERE. IT SHOULDN'T HAVE BEEN MADE THEN. WE HAVE BEEN THROUGH THIS AS A COUNTRY. WE HAVE GONE THROUGH THESE DIFFICULT TIMES, DR. KING, THE SOUTHERN CHRISTIAN LEADERSHIP COALITION. THERE ARE WAYS TO HANDLE THESE TYPE OF CONFLICTS. WHAT HE WAS POINTING TO WAS THAT THERE IS ANOTHER SIDE THAT WAS NOT ADVOCATING NONVIOLENCE. THEY WERE THERE TO PERPETUATE VIOLENCE AS WELL. BUT TO EQUIVOCATE OR CREATE A SENSE OF EQUIVALENCY, TO NOT PURELY AND SOLELY DENOUNCE THE WHITE SUPREMACIST MOVEMENT THERE, IT WASN'T THE TIME TO DO IT. YOU CAN'T DO THAT.

TED SIMONS: A QUICK SOUND BITE FROM YESTERDAY. THIS IS AMONG THE MANY THINGS THAT THE PRESIDENT SAID THAT GOT A LOT OF ATTENTION.

VIDEO: YOU HAD A GROUP ON ONE SIDE THAT WAS BAD AND YOU HAD A GROUP ON THE OTHER SIDE THAT WAS ALSO VERY VIOLENT. NOBODY WANTS TO SAY THAT, BUT I'LL SAY IT NOW. YOU HAD A GROUP ON THE OTHER SIDE THAT CAME CHARGING IN WITHOUT A PERMIT AND THEY WERE VERY VIOLENT.

TED SIMONS: WHEN YOU HEAR THAT, IS IT POSSIBLE TO UNDERSTAND WHERE HE'S COMING FROM?

REGINALD BOLDING: ABSOLUTELY NOT. WHAT PRESIDENT TRUMP DID IN THAT SITUATION WAS TRY TO APPEASE DAVID DUKE AND THOSE INDIVIDUALS WHO DAVID DUKE MENTIONED IN A TWEET A DAY PRIOR TO SAY WE GOT YOU ELECTED. WHAT PRESIDENT TRUMP DECIDED TO DO WAS SAY, I'M GOING TO SPEAK MY TRUE FEELINGS, AND I'LL LET YOU KNOW I'M STILL ON YOUR SIDE AND I'LL DO IT WITH THIS PRESS CONFERENCE. THAT'S WHAT WE SAW.

TED SIMONS: DID HE EMBOLDEN THE KLAN? WHITE NATIONALISTS?

CHUCK COUGHLIN: ABSOLUTELY. ONE WOULD ARGUE THAT THE ENTIRE CYCLE AS REGINALD SPOKE ABOUT TO BEGIN WITH, WHEN YOU HEAR DOG WHISTLES AND SIGNS, THIS IS A DIRECT VALIDATION OF A POINT OF VIEW REPUDIATED BY EVERY FAITH WE KNOW. IT HAS NO PLACE IN THE PUBLIC SQUARE, AND FOR HIM TO FAIL TO RECOGNIZE THAT, AND TO THEN CREATE SOME LEGITIMACY ENCOURAGES THOSE PEOPLE AS WE SAW TODAY. HE GOT TWEETS IN SUPPORT FROM WHITE SUPREMACISTS. THAT'S WHAT A PRESIDENT CAN'T DO. YOU CANNOT GET THAT EQUIVALENCY I GET THE REACTIONARY -- WHAT I HAVE LEARNED IN 30 YEARS OF DOING THIS, WE ONLY CAN CONTROL OUR OWN ACTIONS AND REACTIONS. HE FAILED TO DO THAT YESTERDAY. HE FAILED TO CONTROL HIS REACTION TO IT, TO VALIDATE INVALID POINTS, TO BLESS THAT TYPE OF DIALOGUE IS INAPPROPRIATE. YOU CANNOT DO THAT. HE FAILED TO LEAD.

TED SIMONS: ANOTHER QUOTE FROM THE PRESS CONFERENCE IS THAT THERE WERE FINE PEOPLE ON BOTH SIDES. AGAIN, I THINK WHAT HE WAS TRYING TO SAY IS THERE MAY HAVE BEEN NAZIS AND KLAN PEOPLE AND WHITE NATIONALISTS AND THEY WEREN'T FINE BUT THERE WERE FINE PEOPLE WITH THEM. DOES THAT MAKE SENSE TO YOU?

REGINALD BOLDING: ONE THING I LEARNED ABOUT PRESIDENT TRUMP AND CANDIDATE TRUMP IS TRY NOT TO DEFINE WHAT WE THINK HE'S SAYING BUT LISTEN TO WHAT HE SAYS. WHAT I HEARD FROM HIM, IT WAS A DOG WHISTLE. IT WAS SAYING, I KNOW POLITICALLY I HAVE TO MAKE A COMMENT TO APPEASE SOME MEMBERS OF MY STAFF. I KNOW THAT THERE IS SENATE REPUBLICANS, SENATE HOUSE MEMBERS THAT WANT ME TO SAY PARTICULAR THINGS, SO I'LL DO THAT, BUT I WANT YOU TO KNOW I'M WITH YOU AND I HAVE YOUR BACK.

TED SIMONS: SO THIS WASN'T NECESSARILY OFF THE CUFF?

REGINALD BOLDING: MAYBE IT WAS. MAYBE IT WAS. I DO THINK IT WAS OFF THE CUFF AND HIM SAYING WHAT HE FELT. DO I THINK HE KNEW THE EXACT WORDS THAT WOULD COME OUT OF HIS MOUTH, I DON'T THINK HE EVER KNOWS WHAT WILL COME OUT OF HIS MOUTH, BUT HE WAS DISPLAYING TRUE FEELINGS.

CHUCK COUGHLIN: IS HE SHOWING RACISM OR HIS INABILITY TO ARTICULATE. I GET THE FEELING HE DOESN'T KNOW WHAT HE'S SAYING.

CHUCK COUGHLIN: I DON'T THINK HE FULLY COMPREHENDS THE CONTEXT OF THE LEADERSHIP MANTLE UPON HIM AS THE LEADER OF THE FREE WORLD. I HAVE WRITTEN IN MY BLOG THAT HE'S NEVER FOUND A CAUSE GREATER THAN HIMSELF. I THINK HE SPEAKS OFF THE CUFF AND HE THINKS HE CAN DO THAT AND SAY THAT. IT'S LEFT UP TO THE REST OF US. HOW DO WE RESPOND TO THAT? WHAT DO WE DO TO RESPOND TO THAT? WHAT WE ARE SEEING NOW IS MORAL OUTRAGE. WE'LL HAVE HIM HERE IN A WEEK. I WOULD HOPE THE ARIZONA COMMUNITY RESPONDS IN A WAY, PRAYERFUL, THOUGHTFUL WAY TO GET THROUGH THIS STRUGGLE AND TO BESEECH THOSE HIGHER ANGELS THAT DR. KING SPOKE TO, THAT THE NONVIOLENT COORDINATING COMMITTEE SPOKE TO, THAT ALL OF OUR FAITHS SPOKE TO AS A WAY TO GET THROUGH THESE CONFLICT.

TED SIMONS: I CAN'T LET YOU GO WITHOUT MENTIONING GOVERNOR BREWER. SHE WAS ON CNN AND SUPPORTED THE PRESIDENT LOCK STOCK AND BARREL. IT WAS AN INTERESTING PERFORMANCE. DID YOU SEE IT?

CHUCK COUGHLIN: I SAW CLIPS OF IT.

TED SIMONS: YOUR THOUGHTS?

CHUCK COUGHLIN: I WAS DISAPPOINTED. THE MEXICAN RAPIST COMMENT, I WOULD HOPE SHE HAD RECONSIDERED. I KNOW THERE WERE DISCUSSIONS ABOUT THAT. IT'S TOUGH. I WOULD SAY THIS, WE ALL FAIL. WE ALL FAIL EVERYDAY. NONE OF US ARE PERFECT. I ASK PEOPLE TO REMEMBER HER GOOD WORK AND GOOD DEEDS BAILING THE STATE OUT OF A $3 BILLION BUDGET DEFICIT AND DOING A MEDICAID EXPANSION. LET’S JUST ALL REMEMBER THAT GRACE IS THE ONLY THING WE CAN EXTEND TO PEOPLE, THE OPPORTUNITY FOR US TO GIVE.

TED SIMONS: WE'LL LEAVE IT AT THAT. THANK YOU BOTH FOR JOINING US. WE APPRECIATE IT.

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