Editorials

Not enough to condemn racists; president deserves some blame

A group of protesters cheer after toppling Confederate soldier statue in Durham, N.C. Many are angry that with President Donald Trump’s lukewarm rejection of support from racists groups and his refusal to unequivocalably denounce those who sparked the violence in Charlottesville, Va.
A group of protesters cheer after toppling Confederate soldier statue in Durham, N.C. Many are angry that with President Donald Trump’s lukewarm rejection of support from racists groups and his refusal to unequivocalably denounce those who sparked the violence in Charlottesville, Va. ctoth@heraldsun.com

With the braggadocio, the narcissistic ego, the ties to Russia, the effort to intimidate the FBI, the ethical conflicts, the hidden taxes, etc., most people have come to believe Donald Trump is a poor president.

But not everyone. There’s still that 34 percent who would applaud his marksmanship if he fired a fatal shot in Times Square.

If you’re in that 34 percent, take a look around at the company you’re keeping. You’ll see neo-Nazis, white supremacists and anti-Semites. Face it, racists love Trump, or so says former KKK Imperial Wizard David Duke.

Likely among Trump’s morally defective supporters is a man who lives in Oakdale. Less-than-honorably discharged from the military, this ex-convict admits attacking a cabbie and was filmed punching a 90-pound woman. He fashions himself the leader of a group of like-minded white supremacists who coalesced in shadows of the dark net, where they go to repeat the lies they believe explain away their inadequacies.

Like us, Rep. Jeff Denham doesn’t like these low-life miscreants, even if one is a constituent.

“There is no place in our society, much less our own community, for groups that promote hate, bigotry and infighting,” Denham posted on his Facebook page. “We have an entire generation of Americans that fought against the Nazi regime. To embrace this ideology now is just ignorant.”

We agree, emphatically.

But we think the Congressman left something out. All those haters have friends in the White House; they too deserve our scorn.

In his breathtakingly ill-tempered press conference on Tuesday, Trump told us how he really feels about the activities around the Charlottesville killing. He excused some of those taking part in the Unite The Right rally, defending some he said went to Virginia to honor a statue of Robert E. Lee – the general who helped shed more American blood than Adolf Hitler. Trump believes some “very fine people” were among these diehard Confederate sympathizers. We have seen no evidence of that.

In contrast, Trump insisted there were some very “violent people” from the “alt-left” antagonizing all those peaceful (but heavily armed) racists. There might have been members of the “antifa” (anti-fascist) movement in Virginia, but they didn’t drive any cars into those chanting anti-Semitic slogans in front of a synagogue.

These 700 or so publicity-craving cretins crawled into a college town to demonize minorities, intimidate liberals and make their dark political statements. Since Trump’s election, we’ve seen more of them than we have anytime in the past six decades.

In political terms, Trump offered them cover for their actions.

For many Americans, Trump’s statements were simply too much. By Wednesday afternoon, members of Trump’s Strategy & Policy Forum and Manufacturing Council – the heads of Intel, Merck, the AFL-CIO, JP Morgan Chase bank, 3M, Campbell Soup and many more – quit or voted to disband. The New Jersey GOP central committee repudiated Trump, as did several other prominent Republicans and many (some more opportunistic than others) Democrats.

But not Denham. Asked Wednesday if he would have anything to say specifically about Trump’s comments, a Denham spokesperson said “not at this time.”

It’s easy to issue a blanket criticism of racists. People of conscience most often condemn racism. But in this case, they also should condemn the president who condones it.

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