It’s almost impossible to comprehend.
After white-supremacists descended on the city of Charlottesville, Virginia for what they called the “Unite the Right” rally and one of them plowed his car into a crowd of protesters, injuring nineteen people and ending the life of one young woman, Heather Heyer, it seems like it would be a simple matter to discern right from wrong in this situation. After all, these were avowed Nazis and white-supremacists marching with torches and chanting slogans like “blood and soil”, “white lives matter”, “you will not replace us” and even “Russia is our friend”. Separating the heroes from the villains in this scenario shouldn’t be a difficult task.
Apparently, however, it proved too tough for the President of the United States. In a public statement after a state of emergency had been declared in Virginia, he spoke of violence “on many sides” but refused to specifically call out the evil ideology of white-supremacy as being the cause of the violence.
This was President Trump’s exact statement. He said, “We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence, on many sides. On many sides. It’s been going on for a long time in our country. Not Donald Trump, not Barack Obama. This has been going on for a long, long time.”
On many side. On many sides? A white-supremacist drove into a crowd and murdered someone who was protesting his loathsome ideas. One side did this. The white-supremacist side. The racist side. The Nazi side.
Both sides weren’t involved in the violence. Only one side was involved, yet President Trump couldn’t bring himself to name that perpetrator. Republican politicians got in line to specifically call out racism and white-supremacy. Even fascist ideologues like Ted Cruz and Mike Huckabee were able to bring themselves to correctly identify the affiliation of the culprit who committed this act of domestic terrorism, but somehow the very leader of our country couldn’t seem to manage it.
This is disturbing and unacceptable for two reasons.
First, Trump has been speaking recklessly lately when making threats towards other countries. He spoke of raining “fire and fury” down on the heads of North Koreans and using our military to intervene in Venezuela. These were apparently off-the-cuff comments, improvised on the spot, that shocked and surprised even the generals of the army he commands. In contrast, his statement about Charlottesville was carefully and cowardly worded. It was, dare I say it, “politically correct”. It was designed to not offend the hateful racists who form a large part of his base and who helped get him elected.
Secondly, Trump’s statement was extremely offensive because, with his crazy morning tweetstorms, he has viciously and happily denounced a long and growing list of patriotic Americans. He has denounced American television stations. He has denounced American newspapers. He has denounced American Gold Star families. He has denounced Jeff Sessions and Mitch McConnell. He has denounced Meryl Streep and the cast of “Hamilton”. For God’s sake, president Trump denounced Nordstrom’s for refusing to carry his daughter’s handbag line. Yet, for some reason, he can’t bring himself to denounce white-supremacists. He refuses to denounce racists. He won’t specifically call out Nazis.
President Trump’s silence on this is deafening. The only other person he refuses to speak a harsh word against is Vladimir Putin.
Somewhere deep down we all know the reason for this. These racists and white-supremacists make up a good portion of his base. They are the ones who helped get him elected. And they are the ones he expects will defend him when the time for his impeachment comes. Does anyone have any faith that, when Trump does start to go down, he won’t try to incite his cult members to violence to save his own ass? I certainly don’t.
We need to stop pretending that we don’t know exactly what this is. We need to stop waiting for Trump to be presidential or dignified or to denounce the violence of his followers. This is the white-supremacy presidency. We know this in our hearts. We just haven’t been able to fully admit it to ourselves. We must admit it now, however.
This administration needs to be destroyed. Before it destroys our country.