Fact Check: Chris Wallace and Joe Biden Repeat Charlottesville ‘Very Fine People Hoax’ at Presidential Debate

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CLAIM: Both moderator Chris Wallace and Democrat nominee Joe Biden claimed that President Trump said in response to riots in Charlottesville in 2017 that neo-Nazis were “very fine people.”

VERDICT: FALSE.

Biden has repeated this hoax since the beginning of his campaign. Wallace knows better.

As Breitbart News has noted in fact check after fact check:

President Trump repeatedly condemned the neo-Nazis in Charlottesville in August 2017 — “totally.”

Moreover, the neo-Nazis were not the only violent group in Charlottesville. The “clash” was not with those “standing against” hate peacefully, but with violent, black-clad Antifa extremists.

As to “very fine people,” Trump had been referring to peaceful protests both for and against the removal of a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee.

He completely condemned the extremists — as the timeline and transcript confirm:

  • Aug. 12, 2017: Trump condemned “violence “on many sides” in Charlottesville, after neo-Nazi and Antifa clashes
  • Aug. 14, 2017: Trump condemned “neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and other hate groups” in White House statement
  • Aug. 15, 2017: Trump condemned neo-Nazis “totally,” praised non-violent protesters “on both sides” of statue debate

Biden launched his campaign with the Charlottesville hoax, and persisted in doing so, even after Breitbart News confronted him last August with the fact that he was misquoting the president. His words on that occasion, like his words on Wednesday, repeated his campaign launch speech almost verbatim — a script from which he refuses to depart.

Wallace should never have introduced this canard into a presidential debate. Trump tried to correct him — and Biden — by interjecting, challenging Biden to include the rest of his statement, but Wallace cut him off.


Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). His newest e-book is The Trumpian Virtues: The Lessons and Legacy of Donald Trump’s Presidency. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

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