Trump defends Charlottesville statement at combative rally

President Trump retold his version of how he responded to a white nationalist rally that left one woman dead, assigning much of the blame to the "dishonest people in the media."
4:15 | 08/23/17

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Transcript for Trump defends Charlottesville statement at combative rally
We begin with that rally in Phoenix last night. President trump unleashed, what a dramatic shift from the somber commander in chief the night before. Remember he called on the whole country to come together in unity but last night he was angry, he was raw. He was divisive and deceptive and lashed out at the media and went back at charlottesville saying his words were, quote, perfect but he left out the comments that drew so much fire. President trump also threatened to shut down the government if congress doesn't pay for a border wall. This is a wall he promised Mexico would pay for and outside the rally thousands of protesters clashed with trump supporters and police. Our senior white house correspondent Cecilia Vega was in the room and starts us off from Phoenix. Good morning, Cecilia. Reporter: George, good morning to you. An hour and 15 minutes plus, that is how long president trump went on for here. He is blaming the media, a full assault for the backlash that he faced over charlottesville. President trump went to Phoenix overnight using the opportunity to defend his response to charlottesville. As I said everything, I hit them with neo-nazi, I hit them with everything. I got the white supremacists, neo-nazi. I got them all in there. Let's see. Kkk, we have kkk. I got them all. Reporter: He made a full rebuttal of the controversy over his comments. Now I say we have to heal our wounds and the wounds of our country. I love the people of our country. The people. All of the people. Reporter: Reading portions of his various responses, one by one. The first one, I did this three times. We have to come together as Americans with love for the nation. So in my second statement I got really specific and they said, why did he do it faster. Reporter: Except in his retelling the president never mentions his most controversial comments. We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides. Reporter: Also never mentioning how many times he reiterated it. And you had some very bad people in that group. You also had people that were very fine people on both sides. Reporter: He rallied his base by riling them up. Taking dead aim at the media for the fallout over one of his worst weeks as president so far. They make up stories. They have no sores in many cases. They say a source says. There is no such thing. But they don't report the facts. Reporter: And hinting that there is a pardon to come for Arizona's controversial sheriff Joe arpaio. But you know what, I'll make a prediction. I think he's going to be just fine, okay. But I won't do it tonight. Because I don't want to cause any controversy. Is that okay? Reporter: A campaign rally. They're trying to take away our culture. They're trying to take away our history and our weak leaders, they do it overnight. Reporter: Looking ahead to a re-election by a president just eight months on the job. We are fully and totally committed to fighting for our agenda and we will not stop until the job is done. Reporter: And the president's re-election campaign estimates there were 15,000 people here in Phoenix to see him. He told that crowd, George, that he will get that border wall built even if it means the government has to shut down to pay for it. Yeah, that was quite a threat. Cecilia, you were in the room. 15,000 people there as well. The press is in full view as the president spends about 20 minutes or so at least attacking the media. Just give us a sense of what happens, what that feels like when those attacks come. Reporter: Well, George, this was incitement plain and simple. I turned my cell phone camera on the crowd so you could see the reaction there as we were on the stage. That's what it looks like when the president turned the crowd -- turns the crowd on you. The president said journalists hate this country. That's what he told this crowd. This was an assault that went on & on and I've got to tell you this one felt different. It really feels like a matter of time before someone gets hurt. It is just shocking that this is happening with an occupant in

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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