The tragedy that occurred in Charlottesville, Virginia on Saturday has ironically united the nation. Most decent Americans are repulsed by the bigotry espoused by the alt-right white nationalists who organized the event. Unfortunately, the President is not among them.
Donald Trump’s initial response to the violence was to issue a mealy-mouthed statement that blamed “all sides.” But only one side engaged in deliberate hostilities that resulted in the death of a young woman. Trump’s callous and tone-deaf response was criticized by Republicans and Democrats alike. Reacting to that criticism, the White House put out an anonymous, unsigned statement that continued to ignore the reality of the tragic events:
“The President said very strongly in his statement yesterday that he condemns all forms of violence, bigotry and hatred. And of course that includes white supremacists, KKK, neo-nazi and all extremist groups.”
So now it “includes” white supremacists. Which, of course, is reaffirmation of his position that it also includes others. He is still trying to dilute the grotesque actions of the bigots who are unarguably responsible. And the process of dilution is being carried out by Trump’s surrogates. On CNN’s State of the Union, Tom Bossert had a peculiar excuse for Trump not identifying the racists. He said that the President didn’t want to “dignify the names of these groups.” That argument flies in the face of relentless insistence that Muslims had to be identified as “radical Islamic terrorists.”
On the Fox News morning program, Fox and Friends, co-host Pete Hegseth sympathized with the racists. He complained on their behalf that they feel like they’re being “treated differently” and have become “second-class citizens.” Poor privileged, snowflake, babies.
Consequently, it was encouraging to hear someone on TV tell the truth about the rioting white supremacists. On CNN’s Reliable Sources, University of Virginia professor Larry Sabato didn’t mince words. And he gave some harsh advice to the President who can’t seem to do or say anything right. Here is the exchange he had with host Brian Stelter (video below):
Stelter: Would what the President says in the coming days matter in Charlottesville? Would it actually help or affect the community?
Sabato: Thanks for asking that, Brian, because Donald Trump, of course, is very unpopular anyway here, but he missed his moment. He had the opportunity to do something when it mattered yesterday afternoon. And any of his predecessors in modern times would have had the good instincts to say the right things. He wouldn’t because he won’t denounce part of his base. They’re white supremacists. We know what they are. We know who they voted for.
So listen Brian, if he wants to do something to help us and everbody else, let him fire all the white nationalists on his staff, starting with Steve Bannon. Actions speak louder than words. Words written by his staff.
Stelter: You know Bannon would reject being described as a white nationalist?
Sabato: I don’t care. We’ve read all that we need to read. And there are others on that staff too. You know darn well there are.
Exactly! Prior to joining Trump’s campaign, Bannon was the chairman of Breitbart News. The website openly bragged that it was “the platform for the alt-right.” He now occupies an office down the hall from the Oval Office. And he is likely the author of the statements that tread so lightly on the hateful culprits of the violence in Charlottesville.
Sabato’s observance that there are others in the Trump White House who hold these disgusting views is indisputable. On an earlier appearance on CNN he named one of them. Sebastian Gorka is a special advisor to the President. He also happens to be a former Breitbart editor and is associated with known Nazi groups. But people like Bannon and Gorka are among Trump’s favorite advisers. He isn’t likely to fire them and piss off his base of supporters.
As a result, Trump will continue to get counsel from the worst of the worst. And it’s precisely what he asked for. This is not a case of clandestine fascists infiltrating the government. These are people that Trump selected with full knowledge of their resumes. And if he thinks he can paper over these abhorrent cretins and their hateful philosophies, he is going to be sorely disappointed. Americans will not long tolerate this. Trump already has the worst approval ratings of any president in modern history. Don’t look for that to improve anytime soon.
How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.