Sunday, August 13, 2017

Chicago Tribune -- Trump blames 'many sides' after violent white supremacist rally in Virginia

By Jonathan Lemire
President Donald Trump on Saturday blamed "many sides" for the violent clashes between protesters and white supremacists in Charlottesville Virginia and contended that the "hatred and bigotry" broadcast across the country had taken root long before his political ascendancy.

"We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry a, d violence on many sides, on many sides," said Trump. "It's been going on for a long time in our country. Not Donald Trump. Not Barack Obama. It's been going on for a long, long time." 

The White House was silent for hours except for a tweet from first lady Melania Trump: "Our country encourages freedom of speech, but let's communicate w/o hate in our hearts."

However, Charlottesville Mayor Michael Signer put the blame directly on Trump.
Signer said he was disgusted that the white nationalists had come to his town and blamed Trump for inflaming racial prejudices with his campaign last year.

"I'm not going to make any bones about it. I place the blame for a lot of what you're seeing in American today right at the doorstep of the White House and the people around the president."

Colorado Senator Cory Gardner tweeted "Mr. President -- we must call evil by its name. These were white supremacists and this was domestic terrorism."

Florida Senator Marco Rubio wrote "Nothing patriotic about #Nazis,th e #KKK or #WhiteSupremacists It's the direct opposite of what #America seeks to be."

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, father of Trump's press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, posted "'White supremacy' crap is worst kind of racism-it's EVIL and perversion of God's truth to ever think our Creator values some above others."

And Senator Bernie Sanders said, “No, Mr. President. What is going on in Charlottesville, Virginia is not "an egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides, on many sides." It is a provocative effort on the part of Neo-Nazis to foment racism and hatred and create violence. Call it out for what it is.

Former Ku Klux Klan member David Duke told reporters that the white nationalists were working to "fulfill the promises of Donald Trump."

The candidate Donald Trump frequently came under scrutiny for being slow to offer his condemnation of white supremacists. When he did, it did not come voluntarily but only when asked. “He occasionally trafficked in retweets of racist social media posts during his campaign. His chief strategist, Steve Bannon, once declared that his former news site, Breitbart, was the platform for the alt-right.’”

“ . . . when Donald Trump tapped the chairman of Breitbart Media to lead his campaign, he wasn’t simply turning to a trusted ally and veteran propagandist. By bringing on Stephen Bannon, Trump was signaling a wholehearted embrace of the “alt-right,” a once-motley assemblage of anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim, ethno-nationalistic provocateurs who have coalesced behind Trump and curried the GOP nominee’s favor on social media. In short, Trump has embraced the core readership of Breitbart News, as reported by Mother Jones.

Virginia’s Governor Terry McAuliffe responded in a way that President Trump should have at a Press Conference on Charlottesville.