President Joe Biden repeated a falsehood known as the “fine people hoax” in an interview this week with the Associated Press, falsely claiming that his predecessor praised a mob of neo-Nazis who rioted in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017.
Biden has relied heavily on the hoax for the past three years, citing it as his reason for running for president, and reciting it to NATO leaders in Brussels earlier this year. But it is false: Trump had said the neo-Nazis should be “condemned totally.”
Trump had used the phrase “very fine people” to refer to peaceful protesters, both left and right, on either side of the debate over the removal of a statue of Confederal general Robert E. Lee from a park. He distinguished them from violent extremists.
The hoax was debunked publicly during the 2020 vice presidential debate and again in the second impeachment trial in 2021.