More Words of a Coward
Yesterday, a day after I wrote Words of a Coward, Trump did a nearly complete reversal of his forced and delayed statement on Monday in which he explicitly called out white supremacists for what happened in Charlottesville on Saturday. He undid whatever small bit of good he might have managed on Monday, doubled down on his moral equivalence of both groups of protestors, and re-emphasized his ignorance.
Just read how the following people, all of whom are aligned with Trump politically, responded. The white supremacists are on his side, and the politicians in his own party are not. There is no better illustration of how wrong Trump is right now.
Statements by Those Who Are or Appear to Sympathize With White Supremacists
David Duke, leader of the Ku Klux Klan:
Thank you President Trump for your honesty & courage to tell the truth about #Charlottesville & condemn the leftist terrorists in BLM/Antifa
Richard Spencer, president of the National Policy Institute, a white nationalist think tank:
I’m proud of him for speaking the truth.
Tim Gionet, aka Baked Alaska, alt-right Internet troll:
Thank you President Trump for condemning the alt-left antifa thugs who attacked us in Charlottesville.
We were Gideon’s army without Gideon. Today, we got our leader back! @realDonaldTrump press conference:
And recall that on Monday the neo-Nazi site Daily Stormer wrote:
Trump comments were good. He didn’t attack us. He just said the nation should come together. Nothing specific against us… No condemnation at all. When asked to condemn, [Trump] just walked out of the room. Really, really good. God bless him.
Statements by Republican Politicians and Commentators
Mr. President,you can’t allow #WhiteSupremacists to share only part of blame. They support idea which cost nation & world so much pain 5/6
There’s no moral equivalency between racists & Americans standing up to defy hate & bigotry. The President of the United States should say so.
White supremacy, bigotry & racism have absolutely no place in our society & no one - especially POTUS - should ever tolerate it.
Our words must not create confusion. The supremacy of any race is abhorrent, unAmerican & should be condemned by everyone. Full stop.
When it comes to white supremacists & neo-nazis, there can be no equivocating: they’re propagators of hate and bigotry. Period.
Representative Paul Ryan, Speaker of the House:
We must be clear. White supremacy is repulsive. This bigotry is counter to all this country stands for. There can be no moral ambiguity.
Representative Steve Scalise, House Majority Whip:
I was clear about this bigotry & violence over the weekend and I’ll repeat it today: We must defeat white supremacy and all forms of hatred.
Representative Steve Stiers, chair of the National Republican Congressional Committee:
I don’t understand what’s so hard about this. White supremacists and Neo-Nazis are evil and shouldn’t be defended.
Blaming “both sides” for #Charlottesville?! No. Back to relativism when dealing with KKK, Nazi sympathizers, white supremacists? Just no.
“Very fine people” do not participate in rallies with groups chanting racist and anti-Semitic slogans and displaying vile symbols of hate.
Eric Cantor, former Virginia congressman:
“It really did demand a statement at the very beginning,” said Mr. Cantor, who is Jewish. He added that efforts by the president to equate the actions of the counter-protesters, however violent they may have been, with the neo-Nazis and the driver of the car that murdered a protester were “unacceptable.”
What Trump did today was a moral disgrace.
Are things ever much clearer than all this?
About the Violence “On Many Sides”
If you agree with Trump in thinking there was equal blame on both sides for the violence in Charlottesville on Saturday, maybe you’re overlooking the larger issue:
On one side, you see, you have white nationalists and neo-Nazis carrying assault weapons and advocating for a white, Christian, fascist ethno-state in America. On the other side, you have people who would prefer not to be systematically exterminated. Both are equally bad!
People from both sides assaulted each other, and there is blame to go around for these skirmishes. But the much larger issue, which Trump seems to want to bury, is that our president and the “alt-right” (or whatever you want to call them) have provided cover for this disgusting reaffirmation and public display of bigotry and hate rooted in a long history of white supremacist terrorism in our country.
Watch this Vice documentary, “Charlottesville: Race and Terror” to see what these white supremacist scumbags really think about violence, their objectives in inciting it, and their twisted, historical justifications. Amazingly, if you’re Donald Trump, you are apparently still willing to defend these people even after seeing things like this:
Chris Cantwell, a white supremacist leader, told Vice News that he wanted a president who “does not give his daughter to a Jew.”
Lost in all of this, lest we forget, is that it was a white supremacist who drove a car into the crowd of counter-protesters in Charlottesville, killing a woman, Heather Heyer, and injuring twenty other people. That is terrorism. Had a Muslim done the same thing in the name of ISIS (or anything else), Trump would have tweeted about it and his supporters would have jumped on it, all within a couple of hours. To watch Trump claim yesterday that he was being prudent by waiting for all the facts is laughable. Does he typically hold his fire after a terrorist event? Actually, he does – when a white man is the perpetrator. Remember the white supremacist who stabbed and killed two people in Portland last May? Or the white supremacist who murdered nine people in a Charleston, SC church? Or the white man who shot two Indian men in a Kansas bar in February, believing they were Muslim? In each case, Trump was silent for hours or days before tweeting a tepid response.
Take all the feedback from across the political spectrum, along with Trump’s other actions, the people he’s put in his administration, the policies he is pursuing, what he says, what he ignores, and what actually happened in Charlottesville, and you can only come up with one explanation: Trump is, at a minimum, sympathetic to these white supremacist groups. You don’t have to wonder about it because he is not hiding it.
What will our Republican leaders do now? If making statements this week is all they accomplish, we’ll be talking about all of this again, in response to probably a more violent incident in another city (though I truly hope not), in the very near future. That might be the best-case scenario.