President Joe Biden repeated the “fine people hoax” in Charlottesville on Thursday at his “unity summit,” falsely claiming then-President Donald Trump called neo-Nazis “very fine people.” Trump said they should be “completely condemned”.
Biden spoke after Susan Bro, the mother of Heather Heyer, the left-wing protester killed by a neo-Nazi during the Charlottesville unrest in August 2017.
There were peaceful protests on both sides of whether a statute of Confederate General Robert E. Lee should be abolished, but these were overtaken by right-wing extremist groups and left-wing rioters clashing in the streets. Heyer was murdered when a neo-Nazi deliberately drove his car into a peaceful left-wing protest.
President Trump has made three statements about the violence. In the first case, he condemned violence on ‘all sides’. In the second, he specifically condemned neo-Nazi groups, white supremacists and the KKK. In the third, at a press conference, he said there were “very fine people” in Charlottesville, but made it clear he was referring to peaceful protesters like Heyer. He specifically said, “I’m not talking about the neo-Nazis and the white nationalists, because they should be totally condemned.”
The “fine people hoax” has been publicly debunked several times: for example, by then-Vice President Mike Pence during the 2020 Vice Presidential debate; and again during the second impeachment trial of (by then) former President Trump.
Nevertheless, Biden repeated the hoax again — a hoax that has arguably increased hatred and division in the country as it falsely associates Trump supporters with neo-Nazis, white supremacists and violent extremists, poisoning the political debate.
Biden seemed to be repeating the same script he’d been using since his campaign’s launch — a boilerplate about Charlottesville that he memorized and repeated in speech after speech, even after being confronted with the truth of what Trump was actually saying:
Video of my confrontation with@JoeBidenabout Charlottesville “very fine people” hoax. Note that he always uses the same script (bulging veins, etc.) as if he were trained to recite it. Media reported about this, but none link to transcript of Trump comments proving Biden lying pic.twitter.com/6WD6q1Yhy8
— Joel Pollak (@joelpollak) August 13, 2020
After sharing his well-known description of the neo-Nazis, Biden said that after Heyer’s murder, “When the last man was asked, ‘What do you think?’ he thought there were some nice people on both sides.” There was a moan in the crowd.
Biden also linked the January 6 Capitol riots to Charlottesville. He called the “unity summit” to rally supporters against the so-called “MAGA Republicans,” whom Biden recently called a “threat to the country” in a prime-time speech.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday nights from 7pm to 10pm ET (4pm to 7pm PT). He is the author of the recent ebook Neither Free Nor Fair: The 2020 US Presidential Election. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential election from a conservative perspective. He is winner of the Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship 2018. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.