Today, President Trump took the stage to once again draw a moral equivalency between the neo-Nazi marchers in Charlottesville and their counter-protesters. And Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) had tears in his eyes on CNN, as he expressed his disbelief about this. He said:
My dad came to this country in 1935 to escape Nazi Germany. He was 17 years old. He had barely more than the shirt on his back. He spoke virtually no English, and he knew almost no one. And this great country, the greatest country in the history of the world, gave him a chance to succeed, to raise a family, and to believe in America. Nobody loved this country more than my dad. And I’ve thought, over the last few days, how sad and ashamed he would be to see those images, and then to watch a president who condones, even approves implicitly of those torch-carrying epithet shouting, hate filled people.
As a Jew myself, I can relate to Blumenthal’s concerns. Republican leaders have more or less stood by while President Trump has reversed their position on free trade, has been completely unpredictable on a host of issues, has published offensive memes and tweets, and has arbitrarily decided which press agencies are fake or not. But they can stand idly by no longer. No matter how hurtful or offensive the Charlottesville counter-protesters were, they were not neo-Nazis. They were not expressing their wishes that all black people, Latino people, and Jewish people be rounded up. People have a right to say whatever they want to in a free country (they never have the right to be violent or to run over people, but that’s an aside), but neo-Nazis shouldn’t have the right to say it without the president saying they are flat-out wrong. Trump should absolutely not have said what he did today or what he did over the weekend. I am tired of standing by as the president does egregious things; these statements deserve our condemnation.