So much for President Donald Trump’s so-called bold leadership.
Trump had an opportunity to show true presidential integrity by telling the nation the truth behind the ‘Unite the Right’ movement: It’s a hate-filled group of White supremacists who converged on Charlottesville, Virginia last weekend to state their racial contempt for African Americans, Jews, Hispanics—and any ethnic group that is not White.
Trump took the cowardly way out, hiding behind the shield of ambiguity.
The president was vague and refused to denounce a hate gathering that led to the death of a 32-year-old woman (19 others were injured) after James Alex Fields, 20, from Maumee, Ohio, intentionally plowed his car into an unsuspecting crowd of non-violent counter-protestors. Fields is being held on second-degree murder charges. His mother told CNN that Fields said he was attending an alt-right rally.
Fields, a Nazi sympathizer and fan of Hitler, according to reports, apparently used his car as a weapon, which is widely considered an act of domestic terrorism (and perhaps a hate crime as well) and the U.S. Justice Department is correctly investigating the incident.
Surely Trump saw the news footage from Charlottesville. Surely Trump saw White men dressed in military camouflage clothing, some carrying rifles and many wearing helmets and carrying shields. They came to Charlottesville primed for racial confrontation.
“We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence, on many sides. On many sides,” Trump said. “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.”
But only one side yelled racial and anti-Semitic epithets. Only one side carried detestable Nazi insignia.
White supremacist groups are on the rise in this country (according to The Southern Poverty Law Center) and they have become more emboldened because President Trump encourages White nationalists by not condemning them.
Why won’t Trump denounce these White nationalists? Because they represent his political base. These are people who voted for Trump—people like David Duke, the former KKK leader and Jason Kessler, a racial separatist who organized the rally in Charlottesville.
Trump’s legislative policies reflect a dangerous and misguided agenda that feeds into the president’s base of White nationalists. Consider this: Trump told police it was fine to rough up residents; his administration is pushing for anti-immigration laws and a Muslim ban; and Ben Carson, Secretary for the Department of Housing and Urban Development, is shutting down a public housing project in Cairo, Illinois and possibly rendering Black residents homeless.
And there’s more: The White supremacy movement appears to be openly embraced by some in the West Wing. Former Breitbart editor Stephen Bannon, Chief White House strategist and the architect behind Trump’s Muslim travel ban, has reportedly enjoyed sharing a little-known 1973 French novel about dark-skinned immigrants who eat feces and invade a White society.
The book, The Camp of the Saints, was written by French author Jean Raspail. The book cover explains the premise: “A chilling novel about the end of the White world.”
“It’s been almost a Camp of the Saints-type invasion into Central and then Western and Northern Europe,” Bannon said of his real-life global perspective during a radio interview in October 2015.
This is Bannon’s worldview—and this is the man who has direct access to the president.
Americans should pay close attention to the White supremacist rally we witnessed in Charlottesville. This is not an isolated incident, and organizers pledged to stage similar gatherings in the future including one this month in Boston.
America, perhaps more than ever before, needs a racial healer in the White House. Trump doesn’t care about protecting the civil rights of African Americans, Jews, Hispanics and other people of color. He’s no leader.
By refusing to denounce White supremacists in Charlottesville, Trump took the moral low road once again.
It’s a path he’s accustomed to traveling.
What do you think?