Trump rehashes his Charlottesville response at wild Arizona rally by reading a different version of his original statement

President Donald Trump addressed a raucous crowd at a campaign rally on Tuesday night in Phoenix, unleashing a lengthy tirade at the media in which he rehashed his highly criticized response to the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, earlier this month.

Trump opened his speech with mostly low-key remarks, touting his overall agenda and applauding his Cabinet.

“Right now, we are all Americans, and we all believe in America first,” Trump said.

But he quickly moved to bash the media over its coverage of his response to the August 12 white-supremacist rally in Charlottesville, where hate groups clashed with counterprotesters, one of whom was killed when a car plowed into a crowd. Trump faced scrutiny for making a statement on that day that did not single out hate groups for blame.

On Tuesday night, Trump read back parts of the initial response he gave on that day, though he omitted his comment placing blame on “many sides” for the violence. The president also falsely told the Arizona crowd that he called out neo-Nazi and white-supremacist groups that organized and led the rally in his first statement on August 12. He did not do so until two days after his initial statement, following sharp criticism from Republican and Democratic leaders.

The president bristled at critics who said his condemnation of neo-Nazis and white supremacists – which he called out by name for the first time on August 14 – were not delivered in a timely manner.

“He was late!” Trump said, impersonating a media commentator.

He then moved on to rehash comments he made while taking questions at a press conference on August 15, again omitting some of the comments for which he faced criticism.

In particular, comments that some “very fine people” were among the hate groups demonstrating earned Trump some sharp rebukes far and wide – including from business leaders, many of whom stepped down from Trump’s various business councils in protest.

Nevertheless, Trump said Tuesday that “the words were perfect.”

Trump also complained that the media did not apply the same criticism to President Barack Obama for his refusal to ascribe terrorist acts to “radical Islam,” a phrase his own national security adviser has pushed him against using.

An ABC News/Washington Post poll on Monday showed 28% of respondents approved of the way Trump addressed the Charlottesville rally and its fallout, with 56% disapproving. Overall, just 9% of respondents said it was acceptable to support neo-Nazi and white-supremacist views, while 83% said it was unacceptable.

Watch part of his comments below:

President Trump pledges thoseinvolved in “racist violence” in Charlottesville will beheld accountable 23,2017