Unless you’ve been hiding under your bed — which is a strategy I’m seriously considering — you know that there was a pretty massive riot in Charlottesville, which led to at least one death (although some outlets are saying three because a police helicopter crashed at the same time) and a whole bunch of injuries.
President Trump made a statement:
We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence, on many sides. On many sides. It’s been going on for a long time in our country. Not Donald Trump, not Barack Obama. This has been going on for a long, long time.
This was, of course, not enough, because it never is. Famously objective, fair-minded journalist Chris Cillizza responded with: “Donald Trump’s incredibly unpresidential statement on Charlottesville” — because CNN’s audience don’t want to have to think too hard before acquiring the approved views. You see, Trump hadn’t explicitly called out white nationalists and Nazis on Saturday.
Of course, for this Trump was reviled by the substantial plurality of people who don’t understand that condemning hatred, violence, and bigotry on all sides means that you’re condemning it on any particular side. (I can show you the math.)
So, today Trump said:
“As I said on Saturday, we condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry, and violence. It has no place in America. And as I have said many times before, no matter the color of our skin, we all live under the same laws, we all salute the same great flag, and we are all made by the same almighty God,” Trump said today. “We must love each other, show affection for each other and unite together in condemnation of hatred, bigotry, and violence. We must rediscover the bonds of love and loyalty that bring us together as Americans.”
“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.”
Cillizza promptly replied with “3 big mistakes Donald Trump made in his 2nd speech on Charlottesville.” The three mistakes are: (1) Trump said it on Monday; (2) he talked about the economy; and (3) he said it on Monday and referred back to what he said on Saturday.
I suspect Trump’s big “mistake,” though, is that he keeps including “other hate groups.” Another interesting datum comes from this tweet:
There’s lots of other talk about this — and the Virginia ACLU’s response to Governor McAuliffe is particularly worth reading — but I think there’s an observation others have missed: I think the real issue is that Trump isn’t blaming the Nazi cosplayers exclusively. And why is that “bad”? Because it continues to implicate the Antifa protesters too. Think of when anyone pressed Obama to condemn Black Lives Matter violence: can anyone find an example of Obama doing so explicitly? From the video and tweet above, it seems McAuliffe avoided the question entirely.
I think that’s the real aim: they won’t be satisfied until Trump blames the Illinois Nazis and just the Illinois Nazis, and leaves Antifa completely out of it.
Which, of course, is excusing Antifa. So far Trump is refusing. I hope he continues.