Vice President Mike Pence defended President Trump and his Monday night response to the violence in Charlottesville, Va., and said the president was clear in his remarks that "we denounce bigotry, hatred and violence."
"I know this president. I know his heart," Pence said in an interview on the "Today" show Tuesday. "I heard it. I heard him on the day that the Charlottesville tragedy happened when he denounced hate and violence in all of its forms from wherever it comes. I heard him on that Monday, and I heard him as well on Tuesday like millions of Americans did where he condemned the hate and the bigotry that was evidenced there. He condemned the violence that was there and we'll continue to do that.
"We understand that criticism comes with this job, and this president has the kind of broad shoulders to be able to take it," he said.
Pence repeatedly said he and Trump denounced specific hate groups involved in the violence in Charlottesville, including neo-Nazis, the KKK and white nationalists, and said there was "no moral equivalency drawn" by the president's comments last week.
During a press conference at Trump Tower in New York City on Tuesday, the president said there were "very, very fine people" involved in the events in Charlottesville and said "both sides" were to blame.
Republicans and Democrats alike criticized the president for his comments and argued he drew a moral equivalency between the white nationalist groups involved and the counter-protesters demonstrating against them. Pence, though, said he has never met a good person associated with white nationalist groups.
"Never in my life have I ever met anyone associated with white supremacists, the KKK or the neo-Nazi movement that I would have anything other than contempt for," Pence said. "I can't remember meeting people in that category. I see them on television, and as the president has made clear, we have denounced those organizations."