Friday, April 26, 2019

What did Donald Trump do today?

He tried to rewrite history on Charlottesville.

Yesterday, in his campaign announcement video, former vice-president Joe Biden brought up Trump's declaration that the white supremacists attending the 2017 "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. Biden—who Trump reportedly fears the most out of the enormous field of Democratic primary candidates—repeated Trump's words:

"Very fine people on both sides?” With those words the president of the United States assigned a moral equivalence between those spreading hate and those with the courage to stand against it. And in that moment, I knew the threat to this nation was unlike any I had ever seen in my lifetime.

Asked about it today, Trump went further than ever before in trying to erase his post-Charlottesville comments equating white supremacists and self-described neo-Nazis with the people protesting against them, one of whom was murdered when a "Unite the Right" rally attendee ran her down with his car.

Q Mr. President, do you still think there were “very fine people on both sides” in Charlottesville?  
TRUMP: Oh, I’ve answered that question. And if you look at what I said, you will see that that question was answered perfectly. 
And I was talking about people that went because they felt very strongly about the monument to Robert E. Lee... People were there protesting the taking down of the monument of Robert E. Lee. Everybody knows that.

Not everyone who opposes removing Confederate statues is a neo-Nazi or a white supremacist—but the "Unite the Right" rallygoers were, by their own admission.

Image result for jews will not replace us

At the rally, organizers and speakers said that Charlottesville was "run by Jewish communists and criminal n*****s." They chanted Nazi slogans like "blood and soil." On the subject of counterprotestors, organizer Chris Cantwell said, "We’re not nonviolent. We’ll fucking kill these people if we have to.” 

Secret Discord chat logs used by participants contained jokes about running counter-protestors over. Heather Heyer was murdered on the second day of protests when rallygoer James Fields ran her over with his car. Later, Cantwell said, "People die violent deaths all the time. This is part of the reason we want an ethno-state."

Trump's initial response was to try to shift the blame to "very violent" anti-Nazi protestors, while issuing a few vague tweets condemning violence in general. At the time, white supremacist groups applauded Trump's "both sides" response.

Why should I care about this?

  • It shouldn't be this hard for a president not to defend white supremacists and neo-Nazis.