As I posted yesterday, the takeaway from Monday’s “press availabilty” is that Trump was forced to make a more forceful condemnation of white supremacist groups because he had to staunch the flood of bad press he has been getting since Saturday. The sincerity of his statement was seriously in doubt.
If you have not seen Tuesday’s press availability, you really must watch a replay. Donald Trump had a total meltdown today, returning to his “blame both sides” position on Saturday, and destroying whatever political cover he gave to Republicans yesterday with the prepared remarks that he had obviously been forced to give. Trump made things worse today.
This was a big “fuck you!” to his White House staff, to reporters and pundits, and to other critics of his belated and weak response to events in Charlottesville, Virginia. This was Donald Trump unchained and out of control.
It is being reported that Trump was not supposed to take any questions today and went rogue. His staff is reportedly stunned by what they observed today, as were reporters.
This Washington Post report really does not do this press availability justice. You have to see it to fully appreciate what happened. Trump again blames both sides in Charlottesville, says some counterprotesters were ‘very, very violent’:
President Trump said Tuesday that counterprotesters at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville acted violently and should share the blame for the mayhem that left a woman dead and many injured.
Speaking at Trump Tower in Manhattan, the president called the events of Saturday at the “Unite the Right” rally a “horrible thing to watch,” but he emphasized that both sides acted irresponsibly.
“You had a group on one side that was bad and you had a group on the other side that was also very violent,” Trump said. “No one wants to say that, but I’ll say it right now: You had a group on the other side that came charging in without a permit and they were very, very violent.”
Trump made clear that he believed that some of the counterprotesters were armed and took aggressive actions that helped spark the violence.
“What about the alt-left that came charging at the alt-right — do they have any semblance of guilt?” Trump said. “They came charging, clubs in hand, swinging clubs.”
So now the white supremacists, KKK, Neo-Confederates and Neo-Nazis are now the victims of violence from the “alt-left” on Saturday in Trump’s view? The counter-protestors would not have ben there but for the “Unite the Right” rally. The term “alt-Left,” coined by Trump, is not widely used. What is the ‘alt Left’? “Alt-right” is an attempt at rebranding by white supremacists.
Trump’s remarks came a day after he belatedly condemned the Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazis and other hate groups that organized and participated in the rally. He had faced mounting pressure from lawmakers and civil rights groups over his failure to do so during his initial reaction to the violence, when he denounced violence “on many sides.”
But Tuesday, Trump defended his handling of the Charlottesville situation, stating he did not want to jump to conclusions in his initial remarks. “There was no way of making a correct statement that early,” he said in an impromptu news conference in the lobby of Trump Tower, after an announcement about infrastructure. “I had to see the facts, unlike a lot of reporters.”
Riiight. Ask yourself how many times Trump has waited to see the facts and not jump to conclusions before tweeting some insane comment or shooting his big mouth off. That would be never. Literally no one believes this bullshit excuse.
Trump called the driver of the car that killed counterprotester Heather Heyer, 32, and injured 19 a “disgrace to himself, his family and the country,” but he stopped short of declaring the action a case of “domestic terrorism,” calling that an exercise in semantics . . . “You can call it terrorism. You can call it murder. You can call it whatever you want,” Trump said. “I call it the fastest outcome to a good verdict. … You get into legal semantics. The driver of the car was a murderer. What he did was a horrible, horrible, inexcusable thing.”
Trump emphasized repeatedly that he believed many of the “Unite the Right” rally participants were not members of hate groups and were there to protest the pending removal by the city of a statue of the Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.
“You had people in that group who were protesting the taking down of what to them is a very, very important statue,” Trump said, before suggesting that Lee and other Confederate-era generals, including Stonewall Jackson, are the victims of historical revisionism attempting to delegitimize their roles.
Speaking rhetorically, Trump asked reporters whether George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, both slave owners, should suffer the same fate and have their statues removed. “You’re changing history; you’re changing culture,” he said.
Trump is falsely equating the Civil War — a treasonous act of armed insurrection and rebellion against the United States government by slave states — with the American Revolution which founded this country. We should not honor those traitors who engaged in armed insurrection and rebellion against the United States government which resulted in America’s bloodiest conflict , with over 620,000 dead in the line of duty. We should honor our Founding Fathers who established this country (even in the context that they were slave holders, something we hold repulsive today).
Throughout the press availability, Trump repeatedly attacked the media as “fake news” and “dishonest,” with obvious hostility.
When asked about a statement by Senator John McCain, he attacked McCain. “You mean Senator McCain who prevented us from getting health care reform?”
White House Chief of Staff John Kelly was photographed staring at the ground, arms crossed, as the president fielded questions on Tuesday about a white supremacist rally in Virginia.
Following Trump’s “press availability,” former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke embraced his supportive comments. David Duke thanks Trump for blaming ‘alt-left’ for Charlottesville:
White nationalist leader David Duke on Tuesday thanked President Trump for blaming violence in Charlottesville, Va., on the “alt-left.”
Duke thanked Trump for his “honesty & courage” in a tweet.
The white supremacists and right-wing extremists who came together over the weekend in Charlottesville, Virgina are ready and energized, they said, to set their sights on bigger prizes. Far Right Plans Its Next Moves With a New Energy. Trump’s comments are energizing these groups and giving them comfort.
GOP politicians now must make a choice to disassociate themselves from this president and to disown him after today.