Donald Trump Jr. lashed out against his father’s critics Thursday, saying the president has been unfairly attacked for his “both sides” comment about the August violence in Charlottesville, Va.
The president's eldest son blamed an “atmosphere of hatred” from the left that he said has been brewing on university campuses. Donald Trump Jr. spoke at an annual fundraising gala at Faulkner University, a private Christian college in Alabama.
He stood behind the president’s comment that “both sides” were to blame for violence in Charlottesville that led to the death of one counter-protesting woman and left multiple people injured.
“He condemned ... the white nationalists and the left-wingers," Trump Jr. said during a 35-minute speech. "That should not have been controversial, but it was."
In blaming liberals, Trump Jr. pointed out examples of left-wing violence, including the far-left militants calling themselves “Antifa,” who have been linked to vandalism and other disruption in Berkeley, Calif.
He also referred to James Hodgkinson, the suspect who allegedly shot Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., in June at a baseball practice in Virginia. The suspect is said to have been a Bernie Sanders supporter.
“He went out looking for Republicans to kill and we're supposed to forget that," Trump Jr. said.
Trump’s eldest son then moved on to mock the politically-correct university campus culture, sparking applause after saying students are being taught to “hate their country” and “hate their religion” all while conservative voices are being silenced.
He decried the creation of “Marxists” and “social justice warriors,” making you “less educated than when you started” at the university. "Everyone to the right of them is Hitler," he added.
"Today's conservative speech is violence. Unprovoked liberal violence is self-defense."
"Today's conservative speech is violence. Unprovoked liberal violence is self-defense," Trump Jr. said, pointing out that conservatives are often denied speaking opportunities or their appearances are met with protests.
"Words have lost their meanings,” he added. “'Hate speech' is that America is a good country ... that we need borders ... anything that comes out of the mouth of the president ... the moral teaching of the Bible.”
The speech ended with an attack on universities’ efforts to foster diversity, mocking the concept of “safe spaces” for women, LGBT students or minorities.
The college has confirmed that Trump Jr. was paid for the speaking engagement but declined to disclose the sum. Trump Jr.'s speaking agency, which books his appearances, says on its website that the president's son's fee is typically “$50,001 and above.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.