Steve Bannon: 'I Still Support' What Trump Said About Deadly Charlottesville Rally Last Year

As the one-year anniversary of the deadly white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, approaches, President Donald Trump's former White House political strategist Steve Bannon said he still supports Trump's past comments that there were "very fine people on both sides."

"I still support what he said," Bannon told The Hill during an exclusive interview this week, claiming his former boss was comparing those who no longer wanted a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee in the city to those who did.

The Unite the Right rally August 11-12, 2017, hosted by hundreds of neo-Nazis, alt-right groups and Klu Klux Klan members, resulted in three deaths. One occurred after 21-year-old James Alex Fields Jr. was charged with driving his car into a group of counterprotesters, injuring dozens more.

Following the incident, the president failed to strongly condemn the white nationalists, claiming there was "blame on both sides" for the events that lead to the multiple deaths and dozens of injuries.

"Not all of those people were neo-Nazis, believe me. Not all of those people were white supremacists by any stretch," Trump told reporters in the days following the rally. "You had a lot of people in that group that were there to innocently protest."

Bannon, who said he took the same stance against the anti-racism counterprotesters as his former boss, said, "Antifa is just as bad, if not worse, than the quote-unquote 'fascists' that they try to stop." He didn't seem to hold a grudge against Trump, despite saying he "lost his mind" after he was fired.

Although ample video evidence suggested otherwise, Trump claimed there "were people in that rally, and I looked the night before, if you look there were people protesting very quietly the taking down of the statue of Robert E. Lee. I'm sure, in that group, there were some bad ones." A video also showed a white nationalist shooting a gun at a counterprotester.

Jason Kessler, the organizer of the Charlottesville rally, dropped his lawsuit against the city Thursday to hold an anniversary rally in the coming weeks, the Associated Press reported. Kessler withdrew his permit request from the city after it was denied, saying he would instead focus on a separate rally set for August 12 in Washington, D.C.

Jason Kessler organized the white nationalist Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, and he wanted to do it again on the anniversary of the violent event that left Heather Heyer dead. That ended today when he gave up his fight for a permit.

(via @HBO)

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