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Fathers Of Our Country: How U.S. Presidents Exercised Moral Leadership In Crisis

NPR's Audie Cornish talks to Barbara Perry, a presidential historian at the University of Virginia, about how presidents have exercised moral leadership in critical moments.
Former U.S. President Barack Obama delivers the eulogy for Rev. Clementa Pinckney on June 26, 2015, in Charleston, S.C. Source: Joe Raedle

On Tuesday afternoon, three days after violent clashes between white nationalists and counterprotesters in Charlottesville, Va., President Trump insisted that both sides were to blame.

A reporter asked the president if he meant to put what he called the "alt-left" and white supremacists on the same moral plane.

"I'm not putting anybody on a moral plane," Trump said. "What I'm saying is this: You had a group on one side and you had a group on the other, and they came at each other with clubs, and it was vicious, and it was horrible."

It was a departure from the traditional remarks typically heard from presidents — and it has sparked a conversation about President Trump and the moral authority of

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