Donald Trump came off the teleprompter and his true colours poured out

This was the President unscripted and from the heart 

Andrew Buncombe
New York
Tuesday 15 August 2017 23:53 BST
Donald Trump blames both sides for Charlottesville violence

In the six months since he entered the White House, supporters of Donald Trump have seized on those occasions when he has stuck to the teleprompter.

If only he did so more often, they claimed, he would avoid all those critics who accused him of being “unpresidential”.

Just look how effective he sounded when he delivered his first address to the joint houses of Congress. Listen to how well he communicated when he stuck to the script in Riyadh. And just look at the all the plaudits he earned when he kept to his lines in Poland.

This week, the world watched Donald Trump forget all about the teleprompter and witnessed the true colours of the man pour out.

Some who saw him speaking to the media in Trump Tower, two years after he first announced in the very same building that he was running for the country's highest office, will have been impressed by what they saw.

Some - former KKK imperial wizard David Duke was among them - will have been delighted by his unscripted plunge into the controversy still burning over the violence in Charlottesville. They will have seen it as proof of his stubborn insistence to say what he believes to be true.

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Yet many will have been horrified. Here, even before the 32-year-old victim of the weekend’s neo-Nazi-led violence had been buried, was the US President seeking to draw some equivalence between the white supremacists and those who had opposed them.

“You had a group on one side that was bad and you had a group on the other side that was also very violent,” he said. “I thought what happened was a horrible moment for our country, but there are two sides to every story.”

This was Trump off the teleprompter, and it appeared to be Trump from the heart.

Watching him, was his Chief of Staff John Kelly who stood with his arms folded, his eyes fixed sternly downwards. A few feet away stood two military-looking types, albeit it wearing civilian suits.

They appeared to be carrying the briefcase of missile launch codes frequently referred to as the nuclear football. But Trump was busy firing missiles of his own.

“I condemn neo-Nazis…Not all of those people are neo-Nazis, not all of those people are white supremacists, by any stretch,” he said.

“Many of those people were there to protest the taking down of a statue of Robert E. have to ask yourself, where does it stop.

“George Washington was a slave owner. Are we going take down statues of George Washington? ... you’re changing history, you’re changing had many people in that group other than neo-Nazis and white nationalists. And the press has treated them absolutely unfairly.”

It is hard for anyone to hide from any of this. Trump was supposed to have been promoting an infrastructure project. Instead, he got into an unnecessary fight with the press in which he appeared not as a unifier of a nation, not as presidential, but as a hard-scrapping street fighter.

Many millions who witnessed his performance will have been nauseated. JK Rowling, a frequent critic of Trump, may have put it best. She said: “One good thing about that abomination of a speech: it’s now impossible for any Trump supporter to pretend they don't know what he is.”

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