I don’t believe that Donald Trump is a racist. I don’t think he’s a closet white supremacist or a suit and tie neo-Nazi. I don’t believe he hates Jews.
So why didn’t he flat-out, unequivocally condemn the white supremacist, neo-Nazi, Jew haters whose public rally in Charlottesville, Virginia led to violence and death?
Why didn’t he specifically denounce the white nationalists who descended on the college town and converged in a park chanting, “You will not replace us” and “Jews will not replace us”?
Instead, in a very un-Trump like way, he went generic and said, “We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry, and violence on many sides.” And then, as he often does, he repeated himself. “On many sides.”
Imagine if during President Obama’s presidency, a supporter of Black Lives Matter ran his car into a crowd of white people, and Mr. Obama had said, “We condemn violence on many sides” – but failed to specifically mention Black Lives Matter.
As Stephen Hayes put it in the Weekly Standard: “Trump is quick to condemn—in specific and harsh terms—anyone he doesn’t like. He’s blunt, he’s direct, and he’s politically incorrect.
“So it was striking on Saturday when Trump refused to denounce the white supremacists and neo-Nazis whose public rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, led to violence.”
During the campaign, Donald Trump repeatedly laid into Barack Obama for failing to utter the words “Radical Islamic terrorism.” I think Mr. Trump was right about that. But if he demanded that President Obama be specific when it comes to hateful villains, why didn’t he hold himself to the same standard when it came to hateful white supremacists in Charlottesville?
So if Donald Trump isn’t a bigot, what is he? How about a coward, a weakling who talks tough but is afraid to alienate even an extreme reprehensible wing of his base?
Remember back in February 2016 when a reporter asked candidate Trump about an unsolicited endorsement from David Duke, the former Imperial Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan – and Mr. Trump said, “Well, just so you understand, I don’t know anything about David Duke.”
Really? That would make Donald Trump the only person in America over the age of 15 who doesn’t know anything about David Duke.
A few weeks later they held the Louisiana presidential primary. Let that sink in. David Duke is from Louisiana. Could it be that the tough-talking Donald Trump was afraid that if he talked tough and denounced David Duke he might lose some of the bigot vote in the primary? In case you forgot, Donald Trump won that primary, with more than 41 percent of the vote. And he would have won without David Duke — but when winning is so very important, as it is to Donald Trump, why take any chances, right?
A president can’t be responsible for everyone who supports him, but he can get a bullhorn and tell the world that there is some support he just doesn’t want – like that of David Duke.
But perhaps since he only reluctantly (after much media badgering) disavowed Duke during the campaign, the former Imperial Wizard was back in Charlottesville, again lending support to Donald Trump.
At a rally he told his fellow white supremacists that, “We’re going to fulfill the promises of Donald Trump.”
And the neo-Nazi website Daily Stormer put this out after President’s Trump statement on the violence in Virginia: “No condemnation at all. . . . When asked to condemn, [Trump] just walked out of the room . . . God bless him.”
When you make neo-Nazis giddy with joy, you know you’re doing something wrong.
Realizing things weren’t going well for the president, 36 hours after the demonstrations began in Virginia, the White House issued a statement that said: “The president said very strongly in his statement yesterday that he condemns all forms of violence, bigotry and hatred. Of course that includes white supremacists, K.K.K neo-Nazi and all extremist groups. He called for national unity and bringing all Americans together.”
Why didn’t the president simply say that in the first place? Maybe it was just sloppy work from his team that simply didn’t anticipate the response the president would receive.
Or maybe it was a conscious decision made inside the White House, a decision not to offend any part of the president’s base – especially now that his base is just about the only support he still has.