Published: Mon, August 21, 2017
World | By Paul Elliott

Jerry Falwell Jr: Trump 'left door open' to calling Charlottesville attack terrorism

Jerry Falwell Jr: Trump 'left door open' to calling Charlottesville attack terrorism

"I don't know if there were historical purists there who were trying to preserve some statutes".

In the hours immediately after the rally, which was organized by white supremacists and ended with clashes with counter-protesters and the death of a 32-year-old woman, Trump blamed both sides for the deadly violence.

He also noted that as part of his commentary on the Charlottesville violence, Trump had labeled as "evil" white supremacists, neo-Nazis and Ku Klux Klan members.

Trump has been criticized by many from his previous statements on the protest.

"One of the reasons I supported him is because he doesn't say what's politically correct, he says what's in his heart, what he believes and sometimes that gets him in trouble", Falwell Jr. said. On Sunday, Senator Tim Kaine called President Trumps remarks "outrageous", noting that Trump was quick to call recent global incidents acts of terror, but not in the death of counter-protester Heather Heyer. 'I think he saw videos of who was there.

"He has inside information that I don't have", Falwell, one of Trump's top evangelical advisers, said on ABC News' "This Week."

"I understood, after talking to them, how good people could hear the same statement and take away different things from it", he said Sunday.

'He had information I didn't have, ' the Liberty University president said.

NPR reports that a former student body president, Chris Gaumer, is calling on alumni to return their diplomas to Falwell, or send him a letter denouncing his support for Trump.

When ABC reached out to the administration to book a spokesperson, the administration told "This Week" to book Falwell, a longtime Trump ally.

'I think the president has made it very clear that there is no moral equivalency between what the counter-protesters did, even though maybe some of them resorted to violence in response. and somebody driving his auto into a crowd because he hates people of other races, ' Falwell said.

Falwell isn't alone among his evangelical peers in continuing to stand with the president.

Raddatz pointed out that President Trump hasn't called the attack in Charlottesville a case of domestic terrorism - although Falwell claimed Trump hadn't ruled it out.

"That can't be your world view", she said.

Some Liberty graduates see Falwell's association with Trump as both a personal liability and a moral embarrassment. "Not all of those people were white supremacists".

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