If there was any hope that Donald Trump might finally speak up and boldly denounce the Nazi and white supremacist terrorist attack in Charlottesville during his press conference today, that hope was dashed during an exchange he had with a reporter just before the press conference, in which he refused to call white supremacists the enemy (link). Sure enough, Trump’s speech was yet another cowardly swing and miss.
During his speech, which aired live on national television, Trump finally acknowledged that Nazis and white supremacists were responsible for Charlottesville. But he refused to acknowledge that the deadly incident was a domestic terrorist attack, thus tacitly confirming his racist stance that terrorism can only be committed by Muslims. MSNBC on-air analysts quickly called out Trump for weakly pulling his punches – but it wasn’t just the liberals who felt he came up short.
Conservative Republican strategist Rick Wilson also panned Trump, opining on Twitter that the “speech was a sign they know how badly this was hurting them. Those *words* were Presidential but it took 48 hours, and thus rings false” (link). Wilson added that Trump could only have proved he takes racism seriously if he had used his speech to announce the firings of outspoken racists Steve Bannon, Sebastian Gorka, and Stephen Miller from their top White House positions.
Donald Trump continues to try to paint the white supremacists responsible for the Charlottesville attack as only being part of a larger overall supposed pattern of violence that doesn’t actually exist. Over the weekend he generically insisted that the violence was coming from “many sides” without bothering to offer any evidence to support his false equivalence. And today he used phrases like “including the KKK” to once again try to partially blame this on people outside his own racist base. Trump’s speech today won’t satisfy the American mainstream, and it may only serve to piss off his base in the process.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report