Donald Trump chose sides on Tuesday.
After a weekend of mayhem and death in Charlottesville, Virginia at the hands of Alt-Right white supremacist groups, America waited to hear a condemnation from our president. What we got on Saturday was first a tepid, noncommittal response. Then on Monday we heard a statement clearly written by someone other than Trump. But on Tuesday, speaking off the cuff, Donald Trump showed his true colors:
“You had a group on one side that was bad, and you had a group on the other side that was also very violent. And nobody wants to say that, but I’ll say it right now. You had a group on the other side that came charging in without a permit and they were very, very violent.”
For most people, that was the tipping point. There is no comparison between the two “sides” in the Charlottesville confrontation. There were Nazis, and those who opposed them. Period. Any equivocation on who was to blame for the death of Heather Heyer is equal to supporting the Alt-Right Nazi that murdered her. And I think even many long-time supporters were surprised at Trump’s reticence to lay blame.
There are a few people who weren’t surprised, though: The Nazis, and the president’s staff.
David Duke and Richard Spencer are the old and young faces of the white supremacist movement in America. They both immediately issued statements praising Trump’s response. But it was an article in Wednesday’s New York Times that shed light on his staff’s awareness:
“[M]embers of the president’s staff, stunned and disheartened, said they never expected to hear such a voluble articulation of opinions that the president had long expressed in private.”
Did you catch that? That says his staff knew he felt that way, they just didn’t think he’d say it in public.
So what are they doing about it?
In a word, nothing. From the Times:
“The National Economic Council chairman, Gary D. Cohn, and the Treasury secretary, Steven Mnuchin, who are Jewish, stood by uncomfortably as the president exacerbated a controversy that has once again engulfed a White House in disarray.”
And as long as they continue working for this vile racist, they are complicit. Staffers who stand by while Trump allows the Alt-Right to influence policy are as much to blame as he is.
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