White supremacists heard what Trump did not say

After several hours of violence on Saturday, Trump finally stepped to the microphone to make a pathetically weak gesture in the vicinity of a statement condemning it, couched in the false equivalence of “both sides do it.” Josh Levin has it about right:

image: http://wp.production.patheos.com/blogs/dispatches/files/2016/04/racism550.jpg

racism550

“We’re closely following the terrible events unfolding in Charlottesville, Virginia,” Trump said. “We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry, and violence. On many sides.”

He then said those three words again—“On many sides”—as if to emphasize that this throwaway phrase was in fact the only bit of his short speech that he truly believed in…

“It’s been going on for a long time in our country,” Trump said on Saturday, speaking of the “hatred, bigotry, and violence” on display in Charlottesville. “Not Donald Trump. Not Barack Obama. It’s been going on for a long, long time.”

There was no reason for him to invoke Obama, except that there is always a reason to invoke Obama. The politician who rose to prominence by casting doubts on the legitimacy of the first black president would have you believe that he himself is blameless for whatever unnamed, mysterious force may be dividing this country. Or, if Trump is to blame, then so is the 44th president, and so are the counter-protesters who took to the streets of Charlottesville to tell a band of white supremacists that they may represent what the country has been but will never embody what America should be. The counter-protesters, those marching for the proposition that all men are created equal—they’re apparently part of the problem, too. “On many sides,” Trump said. “On many sides.”

On a day that called for the president to take a stand, he instead made a perverse call for unity. “I love the people of our country,” Trump said at the end of his Bedminster Address. “I love all of the people of our country. We’re going to make America great again. But we’re going to make it great for all of the people of the United States of America.”

Pathetic. Absolutely pathetic. Others did far better. Even Ted Cruz got it mostly right, calling for a DOJ investigation into the murder and wounding of people by a white supremacist driving a car into a crowd of people as an act of terrorism. Orrin Hatch said bluntly, “We should call evil by its name. My brother didn’t give his life fighting Hitler for Nazi ideas to go unchallenged here at home.” Sen. Cory Gardner said, “This is nothing short of domestic terrorism & should be named as such. Mr. President – we must call evil by its name. These were white supremacists and this was domestic terrorism.” Many other Republican politicians made similar condemnations of Trump’s weak response.

And let’s not forget that it was Trump who repeatedly condemned Obama and Clinton for not explicitly calling it “Islamic terrorism” and tying terrorism by Muslims directly to their religious ideology. During the campaign, immediately after the Orlando nightclub massacre, he said that Obama “disgracefully refused to even say the words ‘Radical Islam.’ For that reason alone, he should step down. If Hillary Clinton, after this attack, still cannot say the two words ‘Radical Islam’ she should get out of this race for the Presidency.” The next morning he went on TV and said that Obama was “not addressing the issue, he’s not calling it what it is.”

But now he cannot bring himself to condemn white supremacists specifically, he has to couch it in the ridiculous “on many sides” framing that sets up a false equivalence. And the reason he won’t do that is because he knows that the people in that park supported him, and continue to do so. Just look at the reaction from the Nazi site Daily Stormer:

Read more at http://www.patheos.com/blogs/dispatches/2017/08/14/white-supremacists-heard-trump-didnt-say/#cT44itYbGvWUG6v6.99

Categories: US, US Policy

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