Trump on August 15, 2017:
“You had a group on the other side that came charging in without a permit, and they were very, very violent. . . . You had a lot of people in that [white nationalist] group that were there to innocently protest and very legally protest, because you know — I don’t know if you know — they had a permit. The other group didn’t have a permit.”
In blaming both sides for the violence in Charlottesville that left one person dead, Trump twice asserted that the people protesting white supremacists and neo-Nazis lacked a permit, unlike the groups that gathered to protest the possible removal of a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee. That turns out to be false.
Walt Heinecke, a professor at the University of Virginia received a “special events certificate of approval” for events at McGuffey Park and Justice Park — sites blocks from Emancipation Park, where white nationalists had a permit for a Saturday rally. The car driven by James Alex Fields Jr. rammed into counter-protesters, killing a 32-year-old woman, on Fourth Street, which runs adjacent to Justice Park.
Charlottesville spokeswoman Miriam I. Dickler told Moyer that only one permit was issued for Emancipation Park — the one received by white nationalists staging the “Unite the Right” rally. However, counter-protesters did not need permits to protest that rally, she said.
“Please bear in mind that people do not need a permit to enter a public park, even when another event is scheduled to take place there, nor are they required to have one to be on streets or sidewalks adjacent to or outside the park,” Dickler said in an email.
Trump twice claimed that counter-protesters lacked a permit to demonstrate in Charlottesville. But they did have permits for rallies — and they did not need one to go into or gather near Emancipation Park, where white nationalists planned their rally. The president earned Four Pinocchios from The Washington Post for these lies.