Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel split with President Donald Trump’s “both sides” description of Charlottesville during an interview on “Good Morning America” on Wednesday:
McDaniel: When it comes to Charlottesville, the blame lays squarely at the KKK and the white supremacists who organized this rally and put together an entire event around hate and bigotry.”
David Muir: So you disagree with the president?
McDaniel: I am saying the president did the right thing condemning it. I’m saying absolutely the events that transpired in Charlottesville were initiated by this white supremacist–KKK rally. It would not have happened if those people had not come together in hate. And there were peaceful protesters who did the right thing coming out against it.
Muir: You head the RNC. So how does the Republican party defend then what the president said yesterday in pointing out that there were fine people on both sides.that both sides should share the blame here.
McDaniel: First of all we have to unequivocally say that the KKK and the white supremacists were wrong. I do think people may have showed up in Charlottesville thinking hey, this is going to be a discussion about whether we remove the historic statues. The second they saw Nazi flags, they should have turned tail. The second you join a group that has a Nazi flag or is joining the KKK, there’s no good there. There’s no good KKK member. There is no nice neo-Nazi. This is not a Republican or Democrat issue. This is un-American what they’re doing. And it’s going to take bipartisanship to bring people together around unifying this country, and the president has called for that.
— Good Morning America (@GMA) August 16, 2017
McDaniel’s is Mitt Romney’s niece:
No, not the same. One side is racist, bigoted, Nazi. The other opposes racism and bigotry. Morally different universes.
— Mitt Romney (@MittRomney) August 16, 2017
Of note, McDaniel’s statement is not what the White House wanted surrogates to say. The first bullet point on these leaked talking points says, “The President was entirely correct — both sides of the violence in Charlottesville acted inappropriately, and bear some responsibility”:
These are the talking points the White House sent out to Republicans in Congress tonight: "The President was entirely correct." pic.twitter.com/Mcdy53fRRI
— Molly Ball (@mollyesque) August 16, 2017
— Twitchy Team (@TwitchyTeam) August 15, 2017