Transcript for Donald Trump shifts tone, asking for love and unity at a conference in Reno
Wednesday night, and we begin with president trump going on the attack in front of those supporters overnight. A welcoming crowd where he defended his handling of shortsville, a test of leadership. It was a campaign rally just seven months into his presidency in Phoenix, looking to re-election. He was defiant, standing by his decisions and his words, and then today, another speech and a starkly different tone. ABC's senior white house correspondent, Cecilia Vega, leading us off. Reporter: At the American legion today, president trump calling on the nation to come together. It is time to heal the wounds that divide us and to seek a new unity based on the common values that unite us. Reporter: It came just hours after his own divisive rhetoric in phoeni@. For 75 fiery minutes, he unloaded. Defending his response to charlottesville, pulling from his pocket the statements he made in the wake of the violence. I hit them with neo-nazi. I hit them with everything. I got the white supremacists, the neo-nazi. I got them all in there. Let's see. Kkk, we have kkk. I got them all. So they're having a hard time. So what did they say, right? It should have been sooner. He's a racist. Reporter: But the president never mentioned his most controversial line of all. The moment he blamed both sides and praised some of the people who marched with torches. You had some very bad people in that group. But you also had people that were very fine people on both sides. Reporter: But in Phoenix, he unleashed. His press secretary had promised, "There would be no discussion," of pardoning Arizona's controversial sheriff Joe arpaio. But just hours later -- Do the people in this room like sheriff Joe? I'll make a prediction. I think he's going to be just fine. Okay? But, but I won't do it tonight because I don't want to cause any controversy. Is that okay? Reporter: And he vowed to shut down the government if he doesn't get money to build his border wall. The obstructionist Democrats would like us not to do it but believe me we have to close down our government. We're building that wall. Reporter: Through it all, the president blaming the media for one of his worst weeks so far. I really think they don't like our country. I really believe that. Reporter: From the media platform, I used my phone to record the jeers of the crowd. Outside, thousands of protestors rallied against the president. Police using tear gas to break up the crowds. Also expressing opposition, the former director of national intelligence under president Obama, questioning this commander in chief is fit for office. Having some understanding of the levers that a president can exercise, I worry about, frankly, you know, the access to the nuclear codes. Cecilia Vega live at the white house tonight, and Cecilia, "The New York Times" is reporting on the president's relationship with senate majority leader, Mitch Mcconnell, a Republican of course. Saying they haven't spoken since an angry phone call several weeks ago. Now tonight, senator Mcconnell's team is responding and so is the white house? Reporter: Both sides, David. The paper says that during this call, the president accused Mitch Mcconnell of bungling health care, and what he sees as the leader's failure to protect him, and Mcconnell's side responding today. They are dismissing this story just a few moments ago. The white house responded saying both sides will meet after the August recess and that the president and Mitch Mcconnell remain, quote, united on shared priorities, David. Thank you.
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