President Donald Trump no doubt pleased part of his political base on Tuesday by passionately arguing that both right- and left-wing extremists were responsible for violence at a white supremacist rally in Virginia on Saturday.
But his remarks, one day after he, under pressure, explicitly condemned neo Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan, left White House officials bracing for fallout from disappointed Republicans whose support he needs to govern in the coming months and years.
"Your base isn't going to win you re-election ... nor is it going to keep you a majority in Congress," said one administration official. It was political reality that the controversy over Trump's response would last for some time, he said.
The remarks at Trump Tower in New York on Tuesday that sparked that reality at times bordered on the surreal.
Trump pulled out the statement he read on Saturday in an apparent effort to show, despite the subsequent criticism, that his initial instincts that "many sides" had been at fault were correct.