Twitter Eviscerates Trump for Too Little, Too Late Dog-Whistle Denunciation of N*zi Violence
Twitter Dismisses Trump’s Condemnation of White Supremacy as Fake
Donald Trump finally condemned the white supremacist KKK and Nazi sympathizers who marched on Charlottesville, Virginia last weekend. The marchers were protesting the removal of a Robert E. Lee statue. But they used aggressive intimidation tactics, caused a riot and perpetrated widespread violence and hate crimes against peaceful counterprotesters, including an act of terrorism which resulted in the murder of a 32-year-old woman and nearly 20 injuries. On Saturday, the president blamed “many sides” for the hate and violence, specifically omitting placing any blame on the racists who perpetrated the violence. Hate groups celebrated this moral equivocating. This response was roundly condemned, even by Republican leaders.
Trump is widely considered to have failed a basic moral test by failing to condemn racist violence. Given the racist, xenophobic and violence-courting nature of his presidential campaign, and the open white supremacists in his Oval Office, the failure to clearly condemn the violent fascist-sympathizers was a clear dog-whistle wink and nod to the racists. In fact, it was more of a bullhorn, because coming from Trump it wasn’t remotely subtle. The implication that violent racists and non-violent multicultural counterprotesters are somehow morally equivalent is vintage Trump.
On Monday, when Trump finally condemned the violent hate groups, it was too little too late. He read into a teleprompter after blathering for several minutes about how he has improved the stock market, and said that the Department of Justice had opened an investigation into the vehicular homicide on Saturday. He name-dropped Jeff Sessions, which is a sort of gas-lighting, by putting the investigation into the hands of a noted unreconstructed racist. In his statement, Trump said,
“Racism is evil, and those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs, including the KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists and other hate groups that are repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans.”
The response on Twitter was harsh. From grassroots organizers and journalists to celebrities and major political leaders, commentators blasted this statement as forced, insincere, and too little too late.
This took Trump much too long & won't undo the damage, but I won't join those who say it's worse than nothing. https://t.co/re587oHBra
— Laurence Tribe (@tribelaw) August 14, 2017
— Laurent (@FreiLaurent) August 14, 2017
I don't want to hear one person say he's "presidential". Being presidential is not having to be *convinced* to condemn neo-Nazis and the KKK
— Sarah Kendzior (@sarahkendzior) August 14, 2017
One big takeaway: the president would only disavow Nazis/white nationalists by name under extreme political pressure https://t.co/TFOsd7SFD6
— andrew kaczynski ? (@KFILE) August 14, 2017
Why did Trump not renounce the support of KKK, white nationalists, and neo-Nazis and call on them to stop wearing his hats?
— David Corn (@DavidCornDC) August 14, 2017
The bar of expectations have been so lowered for Trump that an insincere, 3-day condemnation of Nazis can garner pundit praise
— Dan Pfeiffer (@danpfeiffer) August 14, 2017
1.No matter what @potus says now-first instincts always revealing; his was to look into the camera and say "many sides"-that cant be erased.
— John Kerry (@JohnKerry) August 14, 2017
It felt like @realDonaldTrump read the TelePrompTer message condemning hate groups like a hostage forced to read a statement by his captors.
— Bryan Cranston (@BryanCranston) August 14, 2017
Amazing how quickly and specifically Trump goes after his critics but how slow and cautious he is with violent white supremacists.
— Robert Reich (@RBReich) August 14, 2017
Trump presidency is over. all that remains is picking over the bones. https://t.co/OMG5Hi1kmf
— Eric Boehlert (@EricBoehlert) August 14, 2017
The irony of his updated statement is that no one was confused about what he meant. His pro-fascist supporters understood that he was supporting them when he failed to draw a moral line on racist violence. And his critics understood that his second statement was disingenuous and forced. Virtually everyone–from his most rabid supporter to his harshest critic–now understands that Trump can’t be trusted, and his word is meaningless.
Photo by Chris Kleponis-Pool/Getty Images
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Marc Belisle is the Reverb Press World Affairs Editor. He is a writer, activist and teacher. He has a Master’s degree in International Conflict Analysis from the Brussels School of International Studies. READ MORE BY MARC.