A leading academic in US politics has claimed Donald Trump is trying to distract the media from a story which is not showing him in a good light.
In a press conference at Trump Tower on Tuesday, the US President backtracked on his original comments on the Charlottesville incident, where one woman died after a car was rammed into anti-fascists protesting a far-right gathering.
He insisted there was violence on both sides, notably condemning a "very violent" alt-left, while equating Robert E Lee - the Confederate general whose statue was that the heart of the Charlottesville dispute - with Thomas Jefferson.
Dr Simon Radford, who works for the University of Southern California, said his rhetoric of "violence on both sides" is merely a ploy to distract from his performance.
He told Julia Hartley-Brewer: "I think it’s something he’s trying to use to distract from a story which I think he thinks has not played to his benefit.
"Distraction is a good policy when you’re on a losing hand.
"The idea that a couple of extreme anti-fascists and a whole lot of white supremacists [are comparable] is a terrible thing to say.
"Being in the middle between civil rights and white supremacy is not an admirable position to take."