President Trump on Tuesday blamed white nationalist and counterprotesters for the violence in Charlottesville that left one person dead and twice asserted that counterprotesters lacked a permit, unlike the groups that gathered to protest the possible removal of a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.
“You had a group on the other side that came charging in without a permit, and they were very, very violent. . . . You had a lot of people in that [white nationalist] group that were there to innocently protest and very legally protest, because you know — I don’t know if you know — they had a permit. The other group didn’t have a permit,” Trump claimed during a news conference on infrastructure.
In Charlottesville, the Alt-Left HAD NO PERMIT!! So wrong! The Alt-Right racists, KKK & Neo-Nazis HAD a permit to protest & commit violence. pic.twitter.com/hfsitprvqf
— Donald J. Trump (@RealDonaldTrFan) August 15, 2017
But that’s turned out to be false, according to documents and interviews obtained by Washington Post colleague Justin Wm. Moyer.
According to the Post, Walt Heinecke, a professor at the University of Virginia, said that he received a “special events certificate of approval” for events at McGuffey Park and Justice Park.
The permit document is embedded below, with Heinecke’s address and cellphone number removed.
The Post adds:
Charlottesville spokeswoman Miriam I. Dickler told Moyer that only one permit was issued for Emancipation Park — the one received by white nationalists staging the “Unite the Right” rally. However, counterprotesters did not need permits to protest that rally, she said.
“Please bear in mind that people do not need a permit to enter a public park, even when another event is scheduled to take place there, nor are they required to have one to be on streets or sidewalks adjacent to or outside the park,” Dickler said in an email.
At one point, the president appeared to refer to a march the night before the death at the main rally. “There were people in that rally, and I looked the night before,” he said. “If you look, they were people protesting very quietly the taking down of the statue of Robert E. Lee.”
The president earns Four Pinocchios from the Post for his blatantly false claim:
President Trump twice claimed that counterprotesters lacked a permit to demonstrate in Charlottesville. But they did have permits for rallies on Saturday — and they did not need one to go into or gather near Emancipation Park, where white nationalists scheduled their rally. No permits were needed to march on the U-Va. campus on Friday night. The president earns Four Pinocchios.