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Donald Trump’s Words On Charlottesville Were Weak, Inadequate, And Cowardly

trump-syria-strike

Donald Trump is facing criticism for what many have perceived to be his milquetoast and evasive statements on yesterday’s violence in Charlottesville by neo-Nazi and alt-right groups protesting the removal of a Confederate statue by the city’s government:

BRIDGEWATER, N.J. — President Trump is rarely reluctant to express his opinion, but he is often seized by caution when addressing the violence and vitriol of white nationalists, neo-Nazis and alt-right activists, some of whom are his supporters.

After days of genially bombastic interactions with the news media on North Korea and the shortcomings of congressional Republicans, Mr. Trump on Saturday condemned the bloody protests in Charlottesville, Va., in what critics in both parties saw as muted, equivocal terms.

During a brief and uncomfortable address to reporters at his golf resort in Bedminster, N.J., he called for an end to the violence. But he was the only national political figure to spread blame for the “hatred, bigotry and violence” that resulted in the death of one person to “many sides.”

For the most part, Republican leaders and other allies have kept quiet over several months about Mr. Trump’s outbursts and angry Twitter posts. But recently they have stopped averting their gazes and on Saturday a handful criticized his reaction to Charlottesville as insufficient.

“Mr. President — we must call evil by its name,” tweeted Senator Cory Gardner, Republican from Colorado, who oversees the National Republican Senatorial Committee, the campaign arm of the Senate Republicans.

“These were white supremacists and this was domestic terrorism,” he added, a description several of his colleagues used.

Mike Huckabee, the former Arkansas governor and the father of the White House press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, did not dispute Mr. Trump’s comments directly, but he called the behavior of white nationalists in Charlottesville “evil.”

Democrats have suggested that Mr. Trump is simply unwilling to alienate the segment of his white electoral base that embraces bigotry. The president has forcefully rejected any suggestion he harbors any racial or ethnic animosities, and points to his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, an observant Jew, and his daughter Ivanka, who converted to the faith, as proof of his inclusiveness.

In one Twitter post on Saturday, Mr. Trump nodded to that inclusiveness.

“We must remember this truth: No matter our color, creed, religion or political party, we are ALL AMERICANS FIRST,” the president wrote, a statement that had echoes of his campaign slogan, America First.

But like several other statements Mr. Trump made on Saturday, the tweet made no mention that the violence in Charlottesville was initiated by white supremacists brandishing anti-Semitic placards, Confederate battle flags, torches and a few Trump campaign signs.

(…)

Mr. Trump, the product of a well-to-do, predominantly white Queens enclave who in 1989 paid for a full-page ad in The New York Times calling for the death penalty for five black teenagers convicted but later exonerated of raping a white woman in Central Park, flirted with racial controversy during the 2016 campaign. He repeatedly expressed outrage that anyone could suggest he was prejudiced.

When he retweeted white supremacists’ accounts, he brushed aside questions about them. When he was asked about the support he had been given by David Duke, a former Ku Klux Klan leader, he chafed, insisting he didn’t know Mr. Duke.

Finally, at a news conference in South Carolina, Mr. Trump said “I disavow” when pressed on Mr. Duke. He later described Mr. Duke as a “bad person.”

When his social media director, Dan Scavino, posted an image on Mr. Trump’s Twitter feed with a Star of David near Hillary Clinton’s head, with money raining down, Mr. Trump rejected widespread criticism of the image as anti-Semitic. And after years of questioning President Barack Obama’s citizenship, he blamed others for raising the issue in the first place.

In an interview that aired in September 2016, Mr. Trump said “I am the least racist person that you have ever met,” a statement he repeated at a White House news conference in February.

Mr. Trump did not single out the marchers, who included the white supremacist Richard Spencer and Mr. Duke, for their ideology.

While Democrats and some Republicans faulted Mr. Trump for being too vague, Mr. Duke was among the few Trump critics who thought the president had gone too far.

“I would recommend you take a good look in the mirror & remember it was White Americans who put you in the presidency, not radical leftists,” he wrote on Twitter, shortly after the president spoke.

CNN’s Chris Cillizza calls Trump’s statement ‘unpresidential’:

It’s hard to imagine a less presidential statement in a time in which the country looks to its elected leader to stand up against intolerance and hatred.
Picking a “worst” from Donald Trump’s statement — delivered from his Bedminster, New Jersey, golf club — isn’t easy. But, the emphasis of “on many sides” — Trump repeated that phrase twice — is, I think, the low ebb.

Both sides don’t scream racist and anti-Semitic things at people with whom they disagree. They don’t base a belief system on the superiority of one race over others. They don’t get into fistfights with people who don’t see things their way. They don’t create chaos and leave a trail of injured behind them.

Arguing that “both sides do it” deeply misunderstands the hate and intolerance at the core of this “Unite the Right” rally. These people are bigots. They are hate-filled. This is not just a protest where things, unfortunately, got violent. Violence sits at the heart of their warped belief system.

Trying to fit these hate-mongers into the political/ideological spectrum — which appears to be what Trump is doing — speaks to his failure to grasp what’s at play here. This is not a “conservatives say this, liberals say that” sort of situation. We all should stand against this sort of violent intolerance and work to eradicate it from our society — whether Democrat, Republican, Independent or not political in the least.

What Trump failed to do is what he has always promised to do: Speak blunt truths. The people gathered in Charlottesville this weekend are white supremacists, driven by hate and intolerance. Period. There is no “other side” doing similar things here.

“Mr. President – we must call evil by its name,” tweeted Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colorado. “These were white supremacists and this was domestic terrorism.” Tweeted Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, another fellow Republican: “Very important for the nation to hear @potus describe events in #Charlottesville for what they are, a terror attack by #whitesupremacists.”

What Trump is doing — wittingly or unwittingly — is giving cover to the sort of beliefs (and I use that word lightly) on display in Charlottesville today.

Chalking it all up to a violent political rhetoric that occurs on both sides and has been around for a very long time contextualizes and normalizes the behavior of people who should not be normalized. It is not everyday political rhetoric to scream epithets at people who don’t look like you or worship like you. Trump’s right that this sort of behavior has existed on American society’s fringes for a long time — but what we as a nation, led by our presidents, have always done is call it out for what it is: radical racism that has no place in our world.

(…)

There are moments where we as a country look to our president to exemplify the best in us. They don’t happen every day. Sometimes they don’t happen every year. But, when they do happen, we need the person we elected to lead us to, you know, lead us.

Trump did the opposite today.

As noted, Trump also came under criticism from fellow Republicans, including a significant number of elected officials in the House and Senate as well as people who ran against him for the 2016 Republican Presidential nomination. The Washington Post’s Jennifer Rubin, who has been a harsh critic of Trump’s for some time now, was deeply critical of the fact that Trump refused to criticize the white supremacists involved in yesterday’s violence by name, and instead chose to engage in a vague condemnation of violence from “both sides” even though it was clear which side was responsible for yesterday’s violence, which included an incident in which an Ohio man rammed his car into a crowd of counter-protesters, killing one person and injuring more than a dozen others. David French at National Review similarly condemned the President’s failure to fully engage the source of the hatred that spilled out onto the streets of an American city yesterday. Finally, Erick Erickson called out the President in an Op-Ed appearing this morning in The New York Times:

Racial superiority is a repugnant idea and President Trump should condemn it by name. We should also note honestly that President Trump employs individuals who emboldened this movement. The president winked at and made kissy face with the alt-right as his advisers persuaded him it would be good politically. It is no coincidence that many of the men who marched in Charlottesville wore “Make America Great Again” hats. This president and his advisers made a nefarious evil feel comfortable coming out of the shadows.

The Daily Stormer, a neo-Nazi publication, noted of President Trump’s post-Charlottesville news conference that, “When asked to condemn, he just walked out of the room. Really, really good. God bless him.” Silence and obfuscation in the face of evil only feeds evil. Naming and exposing evil forces it back into the shadows. The president who wanted Barack Obama to name radical Islam should take his own advice and be forceful. On a day that saw one person killed during the Charlottesville violence, the president did not need to play the “both sides are culpable” game. No side would be protesting in Charlottesville had not the white supremacists decided to march.

The criticism of Trump is, of course, entirely spot-on. After remaining silent about what was happening in Charlottesville for hours yesterday, the President came out with statements that condemn “violence” without recognizing where it came from and insinuated that ‘both sides’ were responsible for what happened yesterday. While it is true that there were violent elements among the counter-protesters yesterday, it’s clear from the evidence we all saw on our television screens, social media feeds, and Internet news sites that the primary violence came from one source and one source alone and that many of the people on that side of the incidents came to Charlottesville, mostly from outside Virginia, intent on bringing attention to their cause even if it did result in violence. For the President of the United States to fail to recognize this fact and to fail to call it out is nothing short of a profound moral failure.

It’s not as if the President doesn’t know how to criticize things, after all. In the past month alone, he has used his Twitter feed to harshly attack people such as Mitch McConnell, John McCain, CNN, Robert Mueller, his own Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and the so-called “Fake News” news media. As New York’s, Olivia Nuzzi notes, Trump has criticized a whole host of people and has used his Twitter account to do so for a long time that predates his entry into the Presidential race or his victory last November over Hillary Clinton. Throughout that time, though, there have been a handful of people and things that he has been extremely reluctant to say anything. Among those are Vladimir Putin and white supremacists. What’s even more notable is the fact that Trump spent much of the Presidential campaign criticizing former President Obama and Hillary Clinton for failing to use the term “radical Islamic terrorism.” Yesterday, he was afraid to use the term “white nationalist terrorism” to name what was happening on the streets of an American city. Why that is the case is something I’ll leave for the reader to judge on their own.

What happened yesterday in Charlottesville is very easy to identify, and it shouldn’t take so many people to point out to this President why his words are inadequate. What happened is nothing short of a war between good and evil on the streets of an American city just a stone’s throw away from the home of the person who wrote these words: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” And yes, I am aware of Jefferson’s own checked history on the issue of equality. Anyone who’s read his own writings and studied the man quickly becomes aware, though, that he was well aware of that contradiction, and not entirely comfortable with it. These people are not only comfortable in their hatred, they are comfortable in the hatred that led the Nazis to send millions of people to the ovens. Given the time and the power, they would turn America into the kind of nation depicted fictionally in The Man In The High Castle. They must be condemned and fought at every turn, as should those who give them cover. That includes a President who has had harsher things to say about Rosie O’Donnell than he did yesterday about the heirs to Hitler, Goebbels and Eichmann.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. teve tory says:

    Haley Byrd‏Verified account
    @byrdinator
    Follow
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    A question from a senior Republican aide just now: “What idiot in [Trump’s] admin is telling him to worry about the white supremacist vote?”
    7:38 PM – 12 Aug 2017

    Christopher Hayes‏Verified account @chrislhayes 14h14 hours ago
    More
    Christopher Hayes Retweeted Haley Byrd

    Counterpoint: maybe his political instincts about how crucial they are to his coalition are correct.

    Trump’s not criticising the Nazi Deplorables, because a good chunk of his support is Nazi Deplorables.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  2. Mikey says:

    Weak, Inadequate, And Cowardly

    A spot-on description of the man himself.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 0

  3. teve tory says:

    Before the S.C. primary, nearly four in ten Trump supporters said they wished the Confederacy had won the Civil War. https://t.co/StiDYHB2hS

    — Scott Bixby (@scottbix) September 10, 2016

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  4. Daryl's other brother, Daryll says:

    The POTUS cannot bring himself to condemn Putin or Nazi’s or racists.
    Nothing more really needs to be said.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0

  5. Slugger says:

    Let’s be fair to Mr. Trump. Those heel spurs make it very difficult to take a stance on positions.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  6. CSK says:

    Trump can’t disavow or condemn the alt-right. If he does, who will turn up at those rallies he’s always throwing for himself? These are his people.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  7. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Well said, Doug. I do want to take note of this:

    came to Charlottesville, mostly from outside Virginia,

    It is reminiscent of the “outside agitators” phrasing used so often in the 60’s by racist officials talking about civil rights activists, as such it is a talking point I would like to see retired. Even as abhorrent as these people are, and as black as the intentions of some of their #s obviously were, they were Americans, in America. They aren’t from “outside”.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  8. michael reynolds says:

    They must be condemned and fought at every turn, as should those who give them cover. That includes a President who has had harsher things to say about Rosie O’Donnell than he did yesterday about the heirs to Hitler, Goebbels and Eichmann.

    Well said, Doug.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 0

  9. Alvin says:

    The President is a very busy man keeping us all safe while you complainers sleep. DO NOT DEMAND OR TELL THE PRESIDENT WHAT HE NEEDS TO SAY.HE HAS A MOUTH AND NO MATTER WHAT HE WOULD SAY CNN, FOX NEWS AND MANY OTHER’S WOULD CRITICIZE SO LESS IS BEST. THAT HE EVEN HAD TIME TO RESPOND TO ANOTHER HATE PROTEST IS REMARKABLE. HE CALLED THE GOVENOR AND OFFERED SUPPORT. SO SHUT THE HELL UP IF YOU CANNOT BE PART OF THE SOLUTION. STOP CRITICIZING AND DEMANDING OUR PRESIDENT OF THE US TO SPEAK WHAT YOU ALL THINK HE SHOULD. GET A LIFE AND STOP WASTING TIME COMPLAINING AND MAKING NATIONAL NEWS ABOUT WHAT THE PRESIDENT SAID OR DID NOT SAY. CNN THAT WOULD BE THERE ONLY NEWS BECAUSE THEY ARE SO LOW ON THE RATINGS NOW FOR THIS TYPE OF NEWS. STATING SOMETHING IS BREAKING NEWS WHEN IT IS THE SAME THING ONE OF THE TRUMPS SAID WEEKS AGO. THERE IS A LOT BETTER NEWS BUT CNN IS NOW A SWAMP. THEY NEED TO CLEAR IT OUT AND GET OFF THE AIR. FOX NEWS IS NOT MUCH BETTER.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 43

  10. Mikey says:

    @Alvin: I am entirely convinced of your argument due to your near-exclusive use of all caps.

    (Said nobody, ever.)

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 30 Thumb down 0

  11. t says:

    @Alvin:

    DO NOT DEMAND OR TELL THE PRESIDENT WHAT HE NEEDS TO SAY

    what happened to “they work for us”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  12. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Alvin:

    THAT HE EVEN HAD TIME TO RESPOND TO ANOTHER HATE PROTEST IS REMARKABLE.

    Indeed, I’ll bet he had to push back his Tee time a whole 5 mins.

    SO SHUT THE HELL UP IF YOU CANNOT BE PART OF THE SOLUTION.

    So sorry, I AM part of the solution, trump, the GOP, and their enablers are the problem.

    GET A LIFE AND STOP WASTING TIME COMPLAINING

    Pretty rich, coming from a guy whining about everyone else in all caps. Really, come out of the basement, it’s not that scary out here.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 0

  13. Alvin says:

    @Mikey: FIRST YOU ALL BALME EVERYONE BUT WHO IS ACTUALLY RESPONSIBLE FOR THE MURDER OF A YOUNG 32 YEAR OLD WOMEN. FOCUS YOUR ENERGY ON BEING PART OF THE SOLUTION AND STOP BALMING OUR PRESIDENT OF THE US WHO CAN SAY WHAT HE WANTS. YOU ARE THE WEAK ONE TO CRITICIZE AND BLAME THE WRONG PEOPLE. WHO APPOINTED YOU TO DICTATE WHAT A POWERFUL MAN SAYS. GET A LIFE LOSER AND QUITE COMPLAINING ABOUT SOMEONE YOU DO NOT EVEN KNOW.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 29

  14. MarkedMan says:

    I have to admit, I often do BALME everyone. And I do it in all caps. Admitting that I’m part of the problem is my first step…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  15. Gustopher says:

    Even if Trump was willing to point out that the violence was caused by the Nazis and the racists, condemning the violence isn’t enough. Nazis and racists should be condemned, even when they are not committing violence — the ideology is deplorable, and those who follow it are deplorable.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  16. t says:

    @Gustopher:

    Nazis and racists should be condemned, even when they are not committing violence — the ideology is deplorable, and those who follow it are deplorable.

    At least it’s an ethos.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  17. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Alvin: Alvin, thanx to Obamacare you are now able to access the mental health care you so obviously need. I suggest you do so.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  18. Gustopher says:

    Yesterday, he was afraid to use the term “white nationalist terrorism” to name what was happening on the streets of an American city.

    Was it terrorism? Someone was killed and a bunch were injured, but plowing a car into a crowd could be road rage, rather than anything premeditated. Not all violent Nazis are terrorists, some are just violent people who happen to be Nazis. #notallviolentnazis

    Nazis have a right to organize and protest (thanks a lot, ACLU…), and I’m not willing to call any group lawfully protesting terrorists — even if they have tiki torches. Ok, I am willing to call the ones dressed in their military constumes and carrying weapons terrorists — they are using the threat of force to intimidate — but I am apparently on the wrong side of that, at least according to the current law on guns.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 14

  19. Facebones says:
  20. KM says:

    @Gustopher :

    Was it terrorism? Someone was killed and a bunch were injured, but plowing a car into a crowd could be road rage, rather than anything premeditated.

    Let’s tell all those victims in Europe that ISIS had road rage when they plowed vehicles into crowds. YES, it’s terrorism because it was intended to cause terror in the crowd! This post-9/11 BS about redefining what terrorism means has lead to a lot of people nuancing something very very clear. He used his car as a weapon, he’s a freaking terrorist, period.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 0

  21. Daryl's other brother, Daryll says:

    @Gustopher:

    Was it terrorism?

    Violence in the service of political change? Of course it’s terrorism.
    Oh wait…the perp is white. Never mind….

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0

  22. Gustopher says:

    @KM: in Europe, it was planned. Is there any evidence that this was planned?

    (That’s an honest question — I haven’t seen anything saying it was, and he was only charged with second degree murder (does not require premeditation), but new things may have come to light)

    If we are defining terrorism down to the point where a Nazi stuck in traffic leaving his Nazi rally has a temper tantrum and runs people over, does it mean anything? Or is it now just a term that gets applied to any political violence?

    Was the guy who punched that Nazi at Trump’s inauguration a terrorist? Definitely politically motivated. Definitely violence. Is the only difference that the Nazi wasn’t killed? What if he had fallen backwards into the edge of a stop sign, or smashed his head on the pavement?

    How many on the right want to classify that as terrorism rather than simple assault, so they can dehumanize protesters (terrorists are subhuman), and maximize penalties for anyone caught up in a protest whether that particular person has committed any violence or not?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 7

  23. teve tory says:

    …that feeling when you realize Jack and JKB and Bob the Dorq-bustier are the Learned Intellectuals of the Trumper camp! 😮

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  24. teve tory says:

    @Gustopher:

    Nazis have a right to organize and protest (thanks a lot, ACLU…),

    You’re welcome. I’ve been a dues-paying member of the ACLU since 2002, and they are 100% right to support everyone’s right to free speech.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  25. JohnMcC says:

    @Daryl’s other brother, Daryll: Jeffery Goldberg at the Atlantic has an insightful column about the comparison often made between the RW Wurlitzer’s condemnation of Barack for not using the phrase ‘Islamic Terrorist’ and the condemnation of Mr Trump’s unwillingness to use the phrase ‘Nazis, and KKKers and white supremacists’.

    Short version: Barack understood that the Islamists are a branch of the large Muslim world civilization and the U.S. policy he pursued was to let Muslims sort it out. Trump on the other hand has an analogous problem of American/western civilization and it is up to him to try to get it correctly worked out.

    He says it better.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  26. teve tory says:

    White House adviser Tom Bossert on Sunday claimed President Donald Trump did not condemn white supremacists after violence broke out at a rally in Virginia because he didn’t want to “dignify” the movement.

    STFU.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  27. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Gustopher:

    Nazis have a right to organize and protest (thanks a lot, ACLU…),

    That is not the ACLU’s doing, it’s the Constitution’s.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  28. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Gustopher:

    Nazis have a right to organize and protest (thanks a lot, ACLU…),

    That is not the ACLU’s doing, it’s the Constitution’s.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  29. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Double comment, happened again. I swear, I’m only hitting the post button once

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  30. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Gustopher:

    a Nazi stuck in traffic leaving his Nazi rally

    There was no traffic to be stuck in. Watch the video if you can stomach it, it is obvious this was an attack. If you can’t stomach it, and I wouldn’t blame you in the least, than you should stop proposing scenarios that have no basis in fact.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 0

  31. Gustopher says:

    @teve tory: My cat used to be a member of the ACLU, but I stopped paying sometime after their support for Citizens United. They keep sending me “final notice” letters about renewing my cat’s membership, and I look at the envelopes and thing “if only this really was the final notice… but, no, they will send another in a few weeks”

    Since then, I’ve paid more attention to the awful people they are the legal arm of — including these particular Nazis, fighting the good fight to protest in a small, crowded city area rather than in a larger park where crowd control would have been more effective — and I am glad that these horrible people have their rights defended, but I am also glad I am not contributing.

    I would probably support a less pure group, whose response to Nazis wanting to march was “you’re right, but you’re an asshole. We’ll support someone who isn’t a Nazi, and try to make a precedent your little Nazi lawyers can follow.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 7

  32. Surreal American says:

    @Alvin:

    DO NOT DEMAND OR TELL THE PRESIDENT WHAT HE NEEDS TO SAY

    Sorry, pal, I’m an American. Making demands to political leaders is what I do.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0

  33. Gustopher says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I saw the video, or at least one of the earliest videos released, and yes, there was traffic. It was pedestrian traffic, in the form of counter-protesters, but traffic. And, he slammed his car into another car, and that car appeared to do most of the injuring.

    Did he get into the car with the intent of running over counter-protesters? Or did he, angry little Nazi that he is, get angry that he couldn’t leave, and then attack?

    I don’t think we have an answer. That would be the distinction between second degree murder and first, and whether this was even plausibly terrorism.

    (Unless you are arguing that the organizers knew that bringing a bunch of Nazis into an area is going to attract a significant number of people who have anger management issues, and that violence and death were a likely and intended outcome — that would give you the premeditation, organization and political motivation. But, people claim Bill O’Reilly isn’t a terrorist…)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 14

  34. Ebenezer_Arvigenius says:

    At the latest by the time he stopped reversing and went into gear again we’re at premeditation.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  35. Blue Galangal says:

    @Gustopher: I think you need to go rewatch the video you claim to have seen and the still photos regarding this premeditated, planned terrorist attack. (The Charlottesville Police Chief Al Thomas called the incident “premeditated violence” and said it “is being treated as a criminal homicide.”) Eyewitnesses at the scene said he ran into the crowd twice. It is quite clear that he hits people with his car who go flying into the air. The attack took place on a pedestrian mall; he was not “stuck in traffic.”

    Here is just one link to the early video you claim to have watched, where you can quite clearly see him backing up at high speed across a pedestrian mall that is empty both traffic and people, as well as the complete absence of traffic in front of him (the car he hit and a fire truck are the only other vehicles, and the car he hit was not sitting in traffic; it appeared to be empty). That you can have watched this and are *making excuses* for what was clearly planned and premeditated is disgusting; that you chose not to inform yourself further before making these excuses tells me all I need to know about your complicity, your complete lack of morals, and your intellectual capacity.

    https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/aug/12/virginia-unite-the-right-rally-protest-violence

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  36. Gustopher says:

    @Alvin:

    The President is a very busy man keeping us all safe while you complainers sleep. DO NOT DEMAND OR TELL THE PRESIDENT WHAT HE NEEDS TO SAY.

    ALVIN, HAVE YOU TRIED NOT BEING A FASCIST TOADY?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  37. teve tory says:

    Alvin the Chipmunk-Brained reminded me of this book. It’s written in all caps, the author said, because EVERY WORD IS IMPORTANT. 😛

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  38. Gustopher says:

    I’ve clearly woken up on the pedantic side of bed today. Call the little Nazi a terrorist, what the hell…

    Terrorist is one of those words that shuts off thinking, and makes the person described by it less than a person. It worries me to see it applied broadly, because too many terrible policies have been enacted because of terrorism, “terrorism”, and the fear of terrorism. Americans accept a loss of liberty to prevent terrorism, which saddens me. Letting the word mean more and more lets America accept an increasing loss of liberty.

    Where you see terrorism here, I see a crime of passion by a hate-filled angry young man, hyped up by a hate-a-thon.

    The restrictrictions on society that would prevent this are far stricter than those that would prevent 9/11, or Oklahoma City, or the shooting at the gay nightclub.

    And labeling people as terrorists means that we as a society have given up on them, and we have no way or desire to bring them back into society. It’s separating them and their fellow travelers, and making them less than human.

    But, he’s a Nazi. He’s already less than human. Why not call him a terrorist too? Sure.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  39. Tyrell says:

    Nixon’s reaction to Russian invasion of Czechoslovakia, 1968: “those d_ _ _ n bastards !”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  40. Gustopher says:

    @Blue Galangal: that video is radically different from the one I saw — the video I saw was from above and around the corner, where you actually can’t see the street behind him being empty.

    I will confess to not spending my days watching videos of people being run over.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  41. teve tory says:

    Kaili Joy Gray‏Verified account @KailiJoy 2h2 hours ago
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    If you’re afraid to unambiguously condemn Nazis for fear of alienating your base, your base IS deplorable.

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  42. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:

    “NO MATTER WHAT HE WOULD SAY CNN, FOX NEWS AND MANY OTHER’S WOULD CRITICIZE”

    See? I told you guys that Fox News had been cucked. The only real news outlet left is Levin TV.

    And, of course, El Rushbo (for now…)

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  43. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:

    @teve tory: Yep, the thought that Bob the Sockpuppet is part of the Trump intelligencia is truly unnerving.

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  44. grumpy realist says:

    @Alvin: Punctuation might help.

    As it is, you give off the image of a 14-year old dweeb stuck in his mom’s basement sending angry rape threats to the cute girl who refused to go out with him.

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  45. Kylopod says:

    @Tyrell:

    Nixon’s reaction to Russian invasion of Czechoslovakia, 1968: “those d_ _ _ n bastards !”

    Demon?

    Dutchmen?

    Dentition?

    Deregulation?

    Deoxidation?

    Defenestration?

    Diphthongization?

    (Sorry, I’ve been cheating here.)

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  46. KM says:

    @Gustopher:

    And labeling people as terrorists means that we as a society have given up on them, and we have no way or desire to bring them back into society. It’s separating them and their fellow travelers, and making them less than human.

    Forgive me for feeling less than cuddly about someone who went to a rally for a group that explicitly views fellow travelers as less human and then decided to kill and maim them based on that logic. My empathy extends only so far – if you’ve pushed it to that point, you’d probably earned the right to be looked down for sheer dickiness. We’ve spent far too much time in this country coddling people like him who just can’t accept the fact his worldview is sh^t, he’s not inherently important because of his skin tone and oh, yeah other people have rights too that honoring isn’t taking sh^t from him. That they turn murderous over a $%$*@&@ rally just shows how little empathy they deserve.

    If a BLM member had done this, “terrorist” would be the *nicest* thing he would be called on FOX. When a Muslim has done this, the screaming didn’t stop in the fever swamps to care about dehumanization. The logic doesn’t change with the perpetrator’s appearance. The fact that people keep trying to find ways to minimize this crime is frankly horrifying.

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  47. DrDaveT says:

    @KM:

    The fact that people keep trying to find ways to minimize this crime is frankly horrifying.

    So, in your mind it’s less of a crime if it’s merely racism-inflamed hateful murder, but not terrorism?

    That’s… bizarre.

    I’m with Gustopher here. It is perfectly possible that this hateful, despicable, contemptible act was just ordinary run-of-the-mill hate crime by a worthless individual. It doesn’t need to be terrorism for it to be 100% worthy of universal condemnation. It wasn’t rape, either, and calling it rape would not help make the world a better place, or help people understand the issues involved.

    If it was premeditated, with intent to cause fear and influence mass behavior, then it was terrorism. If it wasn’t, then it wasn’t — but (a) we don’t know (and may never know) what was going on inside that damaged head, and (b) it doesn’t matter for purposes of deciding how much condemnation is appropriate.

    Not everything that is utterly indefensible is ‘terrorism’. Personally, I would prefer not to let ‘terrorism’ join the list of words that don’t have denotations any more, only connotations.

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  48. Gustopher says:

    @KM:

    If a BLM member had done this, “terrorist” would be the *nicest* thing he would be called on FOX. When a Muslim has done this, the screaming didn’t stop in the fever swamps to care about dehumanization. The logic doesn’t change with the perpetrator’s appearance. The fact that people keep trying to find ways to minimize this crime is frankly horrifying.

    I aspire to be a better person than the folks at Fox and in the Fever Swamps, and you can too. I don’t mean that in a “let’s all be righteous” way, I mean it in a “good f^cking lord have you set the standard too low” way. We can strive to be merely bad people, rather than amazingly, disgustingly bad people.

    We have words that describe this crime, without minimizing it or making it more than it is — murder, and hate crime. Disgusting, morally depraved and the like are fine adjectives to add.

    We live in an open society, filled with soft targets because of our freedoms. Yes, our communications are probably monitored, and there are cameras everywhere, but other than that, pretty open.

    We also live in a society that can tolerate a ridiculous number of murders, but goes batsh^t insane about any terrorism — we’ll never give up our guns, but we are happy to accept just about any other restriction you can think of so long as the lines aren’t too long. In this society, it is dangerous to our liberties to call things terrorism that aren’t — every unruly crowd becomes potential terrorists, and we all want to crack down on terrorists, don’t we? Better make sure those crowds never get a chance to be unruly.

    And any precedents made to restrict Nazis will be turned around and applied to good, wholesome Americans gathering outside of our congress critters offices to speak about health care, or in airports to protest new travel restrictions, or anywhere within a fifty mile buffer zone of the Keystone Pipeline (its vulnerable to terrorists, you know!), or any number of scenarios. We have a large chunk of the right, people like Alvin, who will unquestioningly support every step towards a police state so long as their guy is running it (don’t question the President! he’s keeping you safe!)

    This is why I actually am mostly glad that the ACLU is out there, defending the rights of Nazis — I don’t have the stomach for it, and don’t want my money helping Nazis, but the rights are important, and if others didn’t support it, I would have to. Instead, I can give my money to left wing advocacy groups and food banks.

    None of this means that the driver wasn’t scum, or that what he did wasn’t terrible. If people had pulled him out of the car, and beaten him to death, I wouldn’t shed a tear. But, just because it was an act of racist malice, doesn’t mean it was terrorism. He’s a racist as^hole, a Nazi, and a murderer. Isn’t that enough?

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  49. Hurling Dervish says:

    @Facebones: Glenn Reynolds: “Run them down.”

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  50. CSK says:

    Trump released another campaign ad today touting all his accomplishments.

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  51. Davebo says:

    @Gustopher:

    I will confess to not spending my days watching videos of people being run over.

    Yet in hyper contrarian fashion you’re happy to bloviate on it on the internet.

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  52. Mister Bluster says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:..Double comment, happened again. I swear, I’m only hitting the post button once.

    Not to worry. I think the point you make about USCon is worth repeating.

    I also think that if the city of Charleston is going to issue a permit so the White Power Freaks can demonstrate in favor of their vile agenda the city can make the local sewage treatment plant and it’s fields of sludge available for protests. It is as much public property as any park in town.
    The opposition can show up if they want to. However I would suggest that they stay home, organize prune juice parties and be sure to run frequent toilet tests. Don’t forget to flush twice!

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  53. KM says:

    @DrDaveT :
    Perhaps I wasn’t clear in my logic. Being a hate crime and a terrorist act are not mutually exclusive states. Terrorism is an terrible act taken with a larger goal in mind – it furthers a purpose in its horribleness. A hate crime is a terrible act against a specific group – its horribleness is its purpose pulled from a larger cause. A classic example is the KKK themselves as all their lynching and cross-burnings were hate crimes as part of a larger terrorist campaign. I’m fairly sure a lot of those incidents were not premeditated the same as a planned murder but rather happened from passions inflamed at their meetings similar to what we saw here. Go to a meeting and it maybe ends in a lynching with the group’s letters carved into the victim. Hate crime or terrorism?

    Heather Heyer was killed in a hate crime that was part of a larger terror campaign by the alt-right. It’s been noted for month that these rallys are deliberately mimicking old imaginary with tiki torches to instill a sense of fear and dread. They are increasing their attacks on multiple fronts to advance their agenda. There’s been a vast uptick in racist and Nazi graffiti across the country. How many have pointed out the incongruity of Nazi flags being flown at a protest nominally for persevering a Confederate statue? They are making a concerted effort to be viable again.

    The only reason people are reluctant to call them terrorists is because of the cultural baggage associated with the words but hate crime suffers from the same thing. You prefer hate crime since it focuses on the motive while I point out terrorist as it was carried out by an individual & larger movement to advance that motive. To put in into a more familiar context: one guy blowing himself up at a synagogue could just be an anti-Semite committing a hate crime. Find out he’s ISIS and suddenly it’s a terrorist act. Why? Connection to a greater context, message and purpose. Doesn’t change the logical application of hate crime but give it a more through understand of what happened.

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  54. Mikey says:

    @Gustopher: It’s up to state and federal authorities to determine the eventual charges against Fields (beyond the ones already announced), but it seems to me his actions fit the American legal definition of terrorism: violence employed against a civilian population intended to coerce or intimidate in the pursuit of a political aim.

    It’ll be interesting to see what they end up charging him with.

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  55. Mikey says:

    The white supremacists’ Nazi website “Daily Stormer” put up this trash about Heather Heyer, the woman their loser James Fields killed in Charlottesville:

    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DHJdOznXgAAZYPA.jpg:large

    These are the garbage humans the President refuses to condemn.

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  56. teve tory says:

    @Mikey: holy shit i just saw that.

    Can we deport Andrew Anglin to an active volcano?

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  57. teve tory says:

    If you can believe it, the comments are even worse.

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  58. teve tory says:

    GoDaddy just gave DailyStormer 24 hrs to GTFO.

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  59. Facebones says:

    @teve tory: Oh, I can sadly believe it. The comments on “respectable” right wing sites like National Review are bad enough.

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  60. Jen says:

    Trump is apparently getting to make remarks “previously unscheduled.” Too little, too late, no matter what he says.

    He has trouble condemning anyone who likes him, no matter how despicable they are. It took him less than an hour to attack Merck’s CEO for stepping down from the Presidential Advisory Council because of his response (or lack thereof) to what is going on in Charlottesville.

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  61. KM says:

    Now the Nazis are screaming how unfair it is they are getting named, shamed and sometimes fired. Oops, a public rally so no expectations of privacy. If your face is in a pic screaming and holding a tiki torch for hate, there’s a good chance your ass is in the unemployment line tomorrow.

    You wanted to unite, let the world know you are here? Well, we see you. You should have stayed in the shadows.

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  62. t says:

    @KM:

    Now the Nazis are screaming how unfair it is they are getting named, shamed and sometimes fired. Oops, a public rally so no expectations of privacy. If your face is in a pic screaming and holding a tiki torch for hate, there’s a good chance your ass is in the unemployment line tomorrow.

    well trump did promise more jobs…

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