Saturday, August 12, 2017

What did Donald Trump do today?

He reacted to the terrorist murder of an anti-racist demonstrator in Charlottesville saying that there was hatred and violence "on many sides."

Forced to react to today's ramming attack that has killed a demonstrator and injured at least 19 more, Trump said this:
We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides, on many sides. It has been going on for a long time in our country – not Donald Trump, not Barack Obama. It has been going on for a long, long time.
Presumably because he has received valuable political support from the Klan, Richard Spencer, and other white supremacy or "alt-right" groups, Trump pointedly refused to call the incident terrorism or mention the fact that white supremacist groups were party to it. (Democrats and other Republicans less beholden to white supremacists were not as hesitant.) By way of contrast, when a similar ramming attack occurred in Paris in April, Trump didn't hesitate to immediately label it "radical Islamic terrorism" and predict (incorrectly) that it would help his preferred candidate in the upcoming French elections.

Not all Trump supporters are white nationalists, but Trump has been extremely reluctant to criticize the openly racist "alt-right" groups that helped secure his victory--a fact they noticed and appreciated today. Richard Spencer, a leader of the movement who celebrated Trump's victory with a Nazi salute and a cheer of "Heil Trump!" was present at the rally today. Former Klan leader David Duke, who Trump once pretended not to know rather than renounce Duke's support of his candidacy, was also there. Duke renewed his support for Trump and said the rally was to fulfill Trump's promise to "take our country back."


  • A president who hesitates to denounce terrorism that kills Americans when it is politically inconvenient is a coward.
  • "Many sides" did not kill anyone in Charlottesville today.
  • People--even racially motivated terrorists--do not support politicians unless they believe those politicians share their values and will help them accomplish their goals.
  • Condemning "violence" without condemning the people who foment it is no better than approving of violence.
  • The fact that violence existed in the world before a president's term does not excuse that president from dealing with it.