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15 September 2017, 12:58 | Myrtle Vega
President Donald Trump talks with reporters aboard Air Force One Thursday Sept. 14 2017 en route to Washington
While almost every lawmaker who spoke out on the subject made clear that they were, at least, uncomfortable with Trump's assessment that there were some "very fine people" among the white nationalists who rallied in the small Virginia city last month, resulting in the death of a counter-protester, few criticized the president by name. "He was trying to convey that there was an antagonist on the other side".
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That remark, Scott said, compromised Trump's moral authority as president. "But you also had people that were very fine people on both sides". "We can't hesitate or equivocate in condemning white nationalists, the KKK, neo-Nazis, or others who would spread hate & bigotry".
The meeting took place as Trump has struggled with his relationship with African-American lawmakers on Capitol Hill and the constituents they represent.
"You look at both sides - I think there's blame on both sides", the president said at a press conference following the deadly violence in Charlottesville.
Sanders - who attended the meeting with Vice President Mike Pence, White House legislative affairs director Marc Short, deputy legislative affairs director Mary Elizabeth Taylor and Scott's chief of staff Jennifer DeCasper - called the meeting constructive.
Scott said that while Trump mostly listened, he did express an understanding of the point the senator was trying to make.
In an appearance on CBS Sunday show Face the Nation just after the attack, Scott had said, 'It's going to be very hard for this president to lead if, in fact, his moral authority remains compromised'.
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"Especially in light of the advent of Antifa, if you look at what's going on there, you know, you have some pretty bad dudes on the other side also", Mr. Trump said, referring to the anti-fascist group that clashed with neo-Nazis and white supremacists. "His rise is a direct result of white supremacy".
The highest-ranking African-American in the mostly white West Wing, Omarosa Manigault Newman, was not present. Scott said given the time constraints and his ongoing work with the administration on HBCUs, that issue was not discussed in the Wednesday meeting.
In an unusual move, the sponsors exercised a mechanism that requires the president's signature on the resolution even though it is nonbinding and written to reflect the sense of Congress.
In addition to discussing Charlottesville, Scott pressed the president to back legislation that would provide development funding for poor urban and rural communities.
Scott has made no secret of his desire for the President to become more engaged on this topic.
Still, Mr. Trump said, he and Mr. Scott had a "great conversation". Tim Scott, the only black Republican in the U.S. Senate, earlier this afternoon for a conversation on race relations and Charlottesville.
At that time, Scott offered some of the bluntest criticism of Trump's Charlottesville reaction.
Other black leaders have been less willing to give the president the benefit of the doubt.
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