Anyone who thinks that white supremacists and the racism they espouse are a thing of the past can officially STFU. On Saturday a “Unite the Right” rally erupted into violence as they were met with counter-protesters. The rally was organized by avowed white supremacists seeking to preserve a statue commemorating Confederate General Robert E. Lee. Among their ranks were members of the KKK and the racist alt-right. They proudly expressed their bigotry with chants of “blood and soil,” “white lives matter,” and “Jews will not replace us.”
The event quickly degenerated into chaos as the marchers assaulted the counter-protesters. Peaceful citizens opposed to the hate groups were beaten with poles and, in one case, run over by a car. At the time of this writing there is one confirmed fatality.
The rioting racists continued their rampage for hours without any comment from Donald Trump. Despite the brazen acts of terrorism, Trump couldn’t tear himself away from his vacation at his luxury golf resort in Bedminster, New Jersey, long enough to condemn the rioters. But when he finally did make a comment – on Twitter of course – it might have been better if he had kept his mouth shut:
We ALL must be united & condemn all that hate stands for. There is no place for this kind of violence in America. Lets come together as one!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 12, 2017
That’s a very carefully crafted comment that fails to attribute responsibility to the hostile bigots who initiated the assaults. It’s a vague repudiation of violence that could be interpreted as directed at the counter-protesters. And it is abhorrent to suggest that America needs to unite with the sort of vile trash who advocate white supremacy.
If that weren’t bad enough, Trump appeared at a photo-op for a Veterans Administration announcement and made things even worse. In a brief statement he affirmed his position that the fault for the violence in Charlotsville should be assigned to both sides:
“We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry, and violence on many sides, on many sides”
Trump: "We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry, and violence on many sides. On many sides." pic.twitter.com/w8eqvResnc
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) August 12, 2017
Any moral observer of these events would recognize that there is only one side here responsible for the hatred and violence. But Trump is obviously afraid of offending his supporters among the white nationalist, alt-right crowd. He benefited from the support of racists throughout his campaign and well into his presidency. And he is too cowardly to risk losing their support by condemning the obviously guilty parties.
One of his staunchest supporters is David Duke, a former KKK Grand Dragon. Duke made an appearance at the Charlotsville event and had this to say about the riots and his hero in the White House:
“This represents a turning point for the people of this country. We are determined to take our country back. We are going to fulfill the promises of Donald Trump. That’s what we believed in. That’s why we voted for Donald Trump. Because he said he’s going to take our country back.”
— Joanna Robinson (@jowrotethis) August 12, 2017
That pretty much says it all. And Trump’s mealy-mouthed public comment is proof that Duke, and the rest of the right-wing hate mongers, got just what they voted for. They now have a president whose own bigotry and weakness allows prejudice to flourish. It’s a dream come true for haters, but a nightmare for Americans who care about one another.
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