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      President Donald Trump on Friday defended his 2017 statement that there were “very fine people” on both sides of the deadly white supremacist protests in Charlottesville, Virginia, comments that recently came under fire again after former Vice President Joe Biden attacked Trump for them.

      When asked for clarification on his remark about the racially charged clash that left one person dead, Trump stood by his claim made more than one-and-a-half years prior.

      “If you look at what I said you will see that that question was answered perfectly,” Trump told reporters on the White House lawn ahead of a trip to Indianapolis to speak at the National Rifle Association’s annual meeting. “I was talking about people that went because they felt very strongly about the monument to Robert E. Lee, a great general.”

      The president has received repeated criticism from those arguing he offered moral equivalence between the white supremacists and neo-Nazis who incited the rally and those who protested against them. In the days following the deadly protests, Trump did not denounce the marchers, instead condemning violence on both sides and calling for Americans to “come together.”

      At the 2017 rally, participants were protesting the planned removal of a statue of Lee, the head of the Confederate military during the Civil War. The tensions came to head when a man rammed his car into a group of protesters, killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer.

      "Whether you like it or not, he was one of the great generals," Trump said of Lee on Friday.

      In the three-minute video posted Thursday morning announcing Biden’s entry into the Democratic primary, the former vice president launched a full attack on Trump for failing to distinguish between the white supremacists and demonstrators in Charlottesville.

      “In that moment, I knew the threat to this nation was unlike any I had ever seen in my lifetime,” Biden said. “I wrote at the time that we’re in a battle for the soul of this nation. Well, that’s even more true today.”

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