President Donald Trump’s comments that both sides were equally responsible for the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, were a mistake, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said Monday.
“The people who wanted to cause violence in Charlottesville were the neo-Nazis and the white supremacists who came there to cause violence. And the very underpinnings of their philosophy — if you can call it that — is the use of violence based upon bias and prejudice,” Christie said. “And that’s unacceptable in our country.”
Christie, who made the remarks at an unrelated event in East Rutherford, is a close political ally of Trump.
But he said there’s no moral equivalency between those who oppose neo-Nazism and white supremacy and those who support it.
“I don’t think that equates — in fact I know it doesn’t equate — to the president being a racist. That is not true,” Christie said. “And I know that personally, and I would continue to stand behind that, but it does not excuse the statement.”
The conduct in Charlottesville was reprehensible, said Christie, adding that he believes all leaders should speak out against white nationalists and neo-Nazis.
He said he hasn’t talked to Trump about it and will keep any advice he gives him private.