U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman Says Trump's Charlottesville Response 'Was Not Fine'

Ambassador also says U.S. president is being treated unfairly in the media

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U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman in the Knesset, May 2017.
U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman in the Knesset, May 2017.

U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman on Wednesday criticized President Donald Trump's reaction to events in Charlottesville.

Asked by a Channel 10 TV reporter about if Trump's response to events following a white supremacist rally was "fine," Friedman said, "I think that it was not fine," and added he would rather not comment any further on the matter.

Friedman also said Trump "is being treated unfairly by the media. I think he'll do a great job for America."

Trump had been sharply criticized for his initial comments blaming "many sides" for the violence in Charlottesville.

One counterprotester was killed and dozens injured in a day of violence on August 12 when hundreds of right-wing protesters took to the streets against the removal of the statue of General Robert E. Lee, commander of the pro-slavery Confederate army in the U.S. Civil War.

After belatedly condemning right-wing racist elements a day later, Trump then doubled down on his Charlottesville statement, saying: "What about 'alt-left'? Do they have any semblance of guilt?"

During the presidential campaign, Friedman drew harsh criticism for calling supporters of J Street, a liberal Jewish group, "worse the kapos" – Jews who assisted the Nazis during the holocaust. He also accused former President Obama and the U.S. State Department of anti-Semitism.  

At his confirmation hearing, Friedman backtracked on some of his statements, saying they were the result of the tense presidential campaign of 2016, in which he served as Trump's chief adviser on Israel.