President Trump received some friendly fire today from one of his most loyal supporters.
During an appearance on “Fox and Friends” Thursday, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said that Trump must become “substantially more disciplined” if he wants allies in Congress to help him accomplish his agenda.
While the president was correct to point out that there were bad actors on both sides in Charlottesville during a heated back-and-forth with reporters earlier this week, Gingrich said that Trump was mistaken when he suggested there were good people in the crowd of neo-Nazis.
“I do think the president was inadequate initially, particularly when he began to say there were some good people in the crowd of neo-Nazis and alt-right. Look, if you’re a good person and you see people chanting anti-Semitic chants and you see somebody wearing a Nazi flag, you leave, you don’t stay,” Gingrich said, adding that Republicans must “condemn unequivocally that kind of violence, bigotry, and racism we saw in Charlottesville.”
But he said violent left-wing protesters also deserve condemnation, noting the ACLU called out violence from both sides.
Gingrich said Trump had seemingly put to rest the controversy over his response one day earlier with a clear condemnation of white supremacists, but then went off-course on Tuesday in a news conference at Trump Tower.
“In 1997, Donald Trump wrote “The Art of the Comeback.” I think he should take a couple of days here in August and reread his own book. He’s much more isolated than he thinks he is,” said Gingrich, adding Trump’s support among Congress is weak right now.
He said members of Congress don’t know what to expect day to day from President Trump, who sent out a series of tweets early this morning, blasting Republican senators Lindsey Graham and Jeff Flake.
Trump would do well to heed Gingrich’s advice and so would his advisers.
But it’s important to point out that no matter what he does, President Trump gets unfairly lambasted by the media every single day. Daniel Payne at The Federalist points out that the MSM’s inability to cover Trump with “anything less than full-on deranged hysteria” is a very pressing problem that poses “significant danger to the social fabric of the United States.”
The furor surrounding the press conference stemmed largely from one particular line Trump delivered. When one reporter asked about his claim that there had been “hatred [and] violence on both sides,” Trump replied: “Well I do think there’s blame. Yes, I think there is blame on both sides. You look at both sides. I think there is blame on both sides.”
With that unremarkable assertion, the media were off. “HE STILL BLAMES BOTH SIDES,” CNN blared in enormous font on its front page. In a headline, The New York Times blared that Trump “again blames ‘both sides.” So did the Chicago Tribune. So did NBC News. So did U.S. News and World Report (calling it “an insane press conference” to boot).
The unambiguous implication of this media firestorm is obvious: we are supposed to see it as outrageous at best and morally abhorrent at worst that Trump would claim that “there is blame on both sides.” The thing is, Trump was telling the truth. There is blame on both sides. And we have eyewitness descriptions and photograph evidence to back it up.
The media’s hysteria is not only dishonest, it’s hypocritical. During the Obama years, whenever there was an Islamic terror attack — especially on American soil — leftists and their allies in the media would rush to point out that Christians and right-wing groups have committed acts of terror, too. They would immediately reach for the moral equivocation when there was no right-wing nexus whatsoever, often when Christians were the victims and most likely the targets of the terror. The practice — which will likely continue throughout Trump’s presidency — is annoying and grossly inappropriate.
President Trump correctly and very appropriately noted that there was blame on both sides in Charlottesville because there were extremists on both sides when Antifa and Nazis faced off.
Suddenly the media is offended by moral equivocation.
It’s true, as Payne notes, that “Trump makes a lot of mistakes.” But so does the media. And right now they seem incapable or unwilling to tell the difference between the things Trump gets right and the things he gets wrong.