Prominent white nationalists quickly thanked President Donald Trump on Tuesday after the president said racists and neo-Nazis weren't exclusively to blame for Saturday violence in Charlottesville, Va.
"I appreciate the truth," alt-right activist Richard Spencer said in a text message to the Washington Examiner. "He's defending the truth."
Former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke, meanwhile, tweeted: "Thank you President Trump for your honesty & courage to tell the truth about #Charlottesville & condemn the leftist terrorists in BLM/Antifa."
An embrace from men commonly regarded as racists on the political fringe comes amid horror from others who watched Trump's televised remarks.
"As a Jew, as an American, as a human, words cannot express my disgust and disappointment. This is not my President," tweeted Hawaii Sen. Brian Schatz, a Democrat.
Trump said in response to reporter questions that he believed both anti-racism activists and defenders of a statute of Robert E. Lee were to blame for the weekend violence that ended in the death of a 32-year-old woman. Both groups also contained "very fine people," he said.
"What about the alt-left that came charging at, as you say, at the alt-right?" Trump asked.
"I think there is blame on both sides and I have no doubt about it and you don't have any doubt about it either," he said, reclaiming a highly controversial initial statement that blamed "many sides" for the clash.
Anti-racism activists "came charging in without a permit and they were very violent," Trump said.
A state of emergency was declared after violent clashes. As participants dispersed, a car driven by a reported white supremacist, James Fields, plowed into a crowd of counter-protesters, killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer, according to police.
Spencer, though pleased at Trump's statements on Tuesday, couldn't explain why Trump decided to answer questions about the Charlottesville incidents.
"I don't know what's in his heart or mind," he said.