Snopes Finally Debunks ‘Very Fine People’ Hoax After 7 Years

Seven years after the infamous “very fine people” controversy, has officially debunked the claim that President Donald Trump referred to neo-Nazis as “very fine people” during his comments on the Charlottesville rally in August 2017. The false narrative had played a pivotal role in President Joe Biden’s 2020 election campaign.

President Biden had launched his campaign in April 2019, asserting that Trump’s alleged comment was a key motivator for his run. However, Trump had actually condemned neo-Nazis and white supremacists explicitly and used the phrase “very fine people” to describe non-violent protesters on both sides of the debate over the removal of a Confederate statue.

Prominent commentators like Scott Adams and Steve Cortes had previously debunked the so-called “very fine people” hoax, but the narrative persisted in media and political discourse. Breitbart News confronted Biden about the misquote in August 2019, to which Biden responded by reiterating his prepared statements accusing Trump of praising neo-Nazis.

The hoax was publicly dismantled during the 2020 vice-presidential debate and Trump’s second impeachment trial, where his legal team provided evidence to refute the claim. Despite these efforts, Biden continued to reference the “very fine people” hoax well into his presidency.

On June 20, 2024, rated the claim that Trump had called neo-Nazis “very fine people” as “false.” Their analysis clarified that while Trump did say there were “very fine people on both sides,” he specifically excluded neo-Nazis and white supremacists, whom he condemned “totally.”

“We looked into these claims, and found that while Trump did say there were ‘very fine people on both sides,’ meaning both the protesters and the counterprotesters, he also condemned neo-Nazis and white nationalists outright and said he was specifically referring to those who were there only to participate in the statue protest,” Snopes stated.

An editor’s note on Snopes emphasized that their fact-check focused solely on verifying Trump’s actual statements, not the validity of his claims about the character of the protesters.

The Snopes fact-check comes just days before Biden and Trump are set to meet for their first debate of the 2024 election on June 27. With this new clarification, Trump’s campaign may use the debunking to counter any attempts by Biden to resurrect the “very fine people” accusation.

The persistence of this narrative underscores the significant impact of misinformation in political campaigns and the ongoing efforts to clarify public records. As the election approaches, both campaigns are expected to leverage this latest fact-check in their strategic communications.