In the wake of the tragedy that occurred on the University of Virginia’s campus in Charlottesville, VA, there has been a tremendous outpouring of solidarity from Americans all over the country directed at those affected both directly and indirectly by the attack. Equally as powerful has been the overwhelming rejection of the sentiments expressed by the white-supremacist rally attendees, who have found their disgusting ideology rejected by people from every facet of American society. The only voice not directly decrying the actions of these racists, in fact, has been Donald Trump’s.
Trump immediately garnered tremendous criticism due to the nature of his statements following the attacks, in which he refused to directly condemn the actions of the KKK and neo-Nazi supporters or call what they did an act of domestic terrorism. In fact, Trump urged people to consider “both sides” of this tragedy, which is a ridiculous thing to ask for considering one of these “sides” is a group of people who are openly proud of their racism and anti-Semitism. This is especially heinous considering one of the FIRST things Trump did as President was remove white supremacy groups from hate-group watch lists.
As a result of Trump’s failure to call these monsters terrorists, a number of Republican elected officials have begun to make it clear that Trump needs to do so. Despite the fact that these people stood behind him when he was running for office, when he was trying to take away healthcare from millions of Americans, and when he has put the American people in direct danger by promoting violence in international affairs, Republicans have finally had enough. Trump can do a lot of things in their eyes, apparently, but allying himself with neo-Nazis is not one of them.
The rebuke of Trump’s message comes from multiple levels of government. Congressman Justin Amash (R-MI) told Trump that “America’s children are watching. Denounce white nationalists & their evil ideology. They are enemies of liberty & our Constitution.” Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO) appeared on CNN and delivered an absolutely blistering review of Trump’s speech in the following remarks, transcribed directly from CNN:
GARDNER: I think the president needs to step up today and say what it is. And call it for what it is.
It’s evil. It’s white nationalism. It’s bigotry and it’s unacceptable.
And if he doesn’t do that then we can continue to answer the question of why. But I believe he has a chance to do that today.
Ivanka called this white nationalism. She called it out today. The president needs to do so, as well.
This president has done so when people have driven trucks through crowds in Europe. He’s called it radical Islamic terrorism. He should use this opportunity today to say this is terrorism, this is domestic terrorism, this is white nationalism and it has to stop.
And I encourage the president to do so. He has a chance to do that. The healing power of the White House, the ability to lead — the president of the United States. It needs to be seen today. Yes, he condemned bigotry and hatred. But we need to name evil and call evil and name it. In this case, it is clearly bigotry, hatred, racism and the white nationalists who led to death and murder in Charlottesville.
Here, Cory Gardner explains Trump’s hypocrisy. The fact that Trump is eager to immediately jump on Twitter and decry “radical Islamic terrorism” but is apparently unable to condemn the EXACT same events when they happen on United States soil is pathetic, and makes it clear that Trump isn’t really anti-terrorist. Apparently, he’s only anti-Islam.
It’s time for Trump to follow the advice of Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) when it comes to these attacks: Trump needs to make it clear that he is not the “friend” of neo-Nazi groups. Anything less than a complete and total denouncement of these attacks is unacceptable, and will cost Trump the support of his own party. If you agree that neo-Nazi sympathizers don’t belong in the White House and that it’s time for Trump to pick a side, please like and share this message.