With his everybody-is-to-blame response to the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, President Trump officially became the leader of white nationalists, American Nazis, neo-Confederates, anti-semitics and alt-right haters across the nation.
And it seemed almost intentional.
I say that because he had a clear and easy choice: Place the blame where it belongs on the haters, bigots and white-lives-matter-too whiners who flocked to poor Charlottesville for the White Nationalist rally, which resulted in one dead and scores injured.
Or blame them AND the anti-hatred protesters who turned out to stop them.
With the entire studio audience screaming “Pick No. 1, pick No. 1!” Trump, of course, chose what was behind curtain No. 2, saying “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.”
It was an odd statement on many levels. Let’s dissect.
First, he used the word “egregious.” Does that sound like the word choice of a guy who doesn’t seem to know more than three adjectives – great, bad and tremendous? Somebody hired a speechwriter, I see.
Then there’s the weird attempt (“It’s been going on for a long time in our country. Not Donald Trump, not Barack Obama”) to not be blamed for something no one was blaming him for.
Um, Donald, did anyone SAY you or Obama were at fault? He sounds like a kid who gets yelled at too much: “Mom, dad, I know the lamp’s broken but it wasn’t me or my friend Barack. This sort of thing has been going on for a long time in our country, er, I mean household.”
Then, of course, there’s the shameless and indefensible part. Can you imagine any president in history trying to spread the blame to the blameless the way Trump just did? Can you imagine Lincoln saying, “Sure, slavery is bad, but slaveholders aren’t the only ones to blame. It’s everybody’s fault. We’re all to blame. Many sides. Bigly.”
This was the simplest of calls. Trump could have scored easy points with just about everybody – as most GOP leaders did – by strongly condemning the hate groups involved.
But he didn’t, so now we’re left to wonder why.
The obvious answer is he didn’t want to alienate the part of his base that is part of the hate network that is slowly coalescing in this nation.
That shouldn’t surprise anyone. He’s done it before. This is a guy who only grudgingly disavowed the support of former KKK leader David Duke and has been labeled a bigot so often that he’s felt compelled to say on several occasions, “I am the least racist person that you have ever met.”
If anyone still needs convincing that he’s not, his Charlottesville statement should be conclusive.
Maya Angelou once said, “When people show you who they are, believe them.”
Donald, we finally believe you.
Image credit: Donkey Hotey