President Trump has a troubling tendency to blame "both sides."

Showing that the remarks he delivered from a White House teleprompter on Monday were hollow and insincere, Trump Tuesday revived his initial claim that "both sides" are to blame for the horrific violence at a white supremacist rally over the weekend in Charlottesville.

Going rogue during an event at Trump Tower that was supposed to be about infrastructure, the president said there are "two sides to a story." He then attacked counterprotesters for acting "very, very violently" as they came "with clubs in their hand" at the neo-Nazis and KKK members who were protesting the planned removal of a Robert E. Lee statue. "You had a group on one side that was bad, and you had a group on the other side that was also very violent, and nobody wants to say that," Trump said. "Do they have any semblance of guilt? Do they have any problem? I think they do!"

The president then complained that not everyone who came to the "Unite the Right" rally was a neo-Nazi or white nationalist. "And the press has treated them absolutely unfairly," a testy Trump said during a combative back-and-forth with reporters.

These comments suggest very strongly that the president of the United States sees moral equivalence between Nazis and those who oppose Nazis. Objectively, of course, there is NO moral equivalence between Nazis and those who oppose Nazis.

But this is part of a pattern.

In a pre-Super Bowl interview on Fox, Bill O'Reilly pressed Trump on why he respected Russian President Vladimir Putin. "Putin's a killer," O'Reilly said, noting that he murders his political enemies and leads a repressive authoritarian regime. Trump replied without hesitation, "We got a lot of killers. What? You think our country's so innocent?"

"Take a look at what we've done, too," the president continued. "We've made a lot of mistakes. … So, lot of killers around, believe me."

Trump made similarly bizarre statements about the moral equivalence between the democratic United States and autocratic Russia as a candidate.

As William F. Buckley, the founding editor of National Review, once put it: "To say that the CIA and the KGB engage in similar practices is the equivalent of saying that the man who pushes an old lady into the path of a hurtling bus is not to be distinguished from the man who pushes an old lady out of the path of a hurtling bus: on the grounds that, after all, in both cases someone is pushing old ladies around."

Yet that's essentially the logic Trump used Tuesday.

Don't forget: Trump compared the U.S. intelligence community to the Nazi regime earlier this year.

And the president's first White House press secretary, Sean Spicer, used another variant of false moral equivalency when he made the insane claim that, unlike Bashar Assad, Adolf Hitler "didn't even sink to using chemical weapons" during World War II. He apologized the next day. "Frankly, I mistakenly made an inappropriate and insensitive reference to the Holocaust, for which there is no comparison," Spicer said.

Trump has often defended his own immoral behavior on the grounds that other men also behave badly, as if that somehow exonerates him. Recall how defiant he was last October after the Post published a video of him boasting in extremely lewd and predatory terms to Access Hollywood host Billy Bush about being able to get away with groping women and propositioning other men's wives because he is a celebrity.

"Bill Clinton has said far worse to me on the golf course – not even close," Trump said in his initial statement. "This was locker room banter, a private conversation that took place many years ago."

In a subsequent statement, he pivoted to argue that what he did was not as bad as what the Clintons had done in the past: "I've said some foolish things, but there's a big difference between the words and actions of other people. Bill Clinton has actually abused women and Hillary (Clinton) has bullied, attacked, shamed and intimidated his victims."

The GOP nominee for president then brought women who had accused the former president of sexual misconduct as his guests to the debate in St. Louis that weekend. It was part of a broader effort to make the case, for all intents and purposes, that a lot of men are boorish pigs. Muddying the waters, as irrelevant as it might have been to questions about Trump's personal character, allowed his campaign to survive.

That scorched-earth strategy is consistent with Trump's response to Charlottesville.

One of the many ironies in all this is that conservatives have spent decades accusing liberals of believing in the kind of both-sides-ism that Trump now routinely espouses.

In one of his most famous speeches, Ronald Reagan told the National Association of Evangelicals in 1983: "I urge you to beware the temptation of . . . blithely declaring yourselves above it all and label both sides equally at fault, to ignore the facts of history and the aggressive impulses of an evil empire."

Jeane Kirkpatrick's essay on "The Myth of Moral Equivalence" is a classic of this genre. Reagan's former ambassador to the United Nations pilloried those who argued that NATO was no better than the Warsaw Pact.

It has never gotten sufficient attention, but the year Kirkpatrick published her piece, Trump was paying to run full-page ads in the Washington Post attacking Reagan and his administration for lacking "backbone" in the realm of foreign policy. Talk about being on the wrong side of history.

The right's disdain for both sides-ism continued through the Obama era. In 2011, Paul Ryan told the The Weekly Standard: "If you ask me what the biggest problem in America is, I'm not going to tell you debt, deficits, statistics, economics – I'll tell you it's moral relativism."