While continuing to insist that her "wished to destroy" comment was "taken out of context," embattled Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake admitted that she might have "used the wrong phrase" in her controversial statement.
On the weekend leading up to the crescendo of the riots last Monday, the mayor said that she believed it was important to give protestors, as well as those who "wished to destroy," the "space to do so."
"It's a very delicate balancing act," she said, "because, while we tried to make sure that they were protected from the cars and the other things that were going on, we also gave those who wished to destroy space to do that as well." (video below)
Though her office quickly released a statement attempting to clarify her comment and accusing critics of having "twisted" her words, the mayor found herself hammered repeatedly for the irresponsible remark.
On Sunday's “Meet The Press” with host Chuck Todd, Rawlings-Blake offered up a partial apology to the public. When Todd asked her if she regrets using the phrase, the mayor reflexively defended herself before finally admitting it was "certainly" a mistake:
TODD: Do you regret using the phrase ‘space to destroy?
RAWLINGS-BLAKE: I certainly think that it was taken out of context. Let me say this: I’m from Baltimore, my parents are from here, I’m raising my daughter here. I’m a public defender. As city council person, as mayor, I’ve always worked to strengthen my city. We fought to get those stores in our community. I would never condone rioting. ... Just period. I would never condone it.
TODD: So wish you didn’t use that phrase?
RAWLINGS-BLAKE: I certainly used the wrong phrase to talk about what was clear that there were people who took advantage of the peaceful demonstrator’s First Amendment right, and they used it to destroy our city. And I don’t condone it, and we’ll make sure that those individuals will be held accountable.