President Donald Trump’s condemnation of hate groups for the violence Saturday at a rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, is two days late and a dollar short.

A young woman, identified as 32-year-old Heather Heyer, lost her life, and 19 others were seriously injured when a man, drunk on hate, plowed his car into a crowd of counter-protesters like they were bowling pins.

James Alex Fields, 20, of Ohio, has been charged in connection with this terrorist attack. Fields has an interest in the neo-Nazi movement and a fascination with Adolf Hitler, according to published reports.

The deliberate attack came after numerous skirmishes between hate groups and counter-demonstrators forced officials to shut down the rally organized by white supremacists.

OPINION

And two state troopers were killed in a helicopter crash near the site of the violence.

Yet all Trump could muster on Saturday, while relaxing at one of his golf courses, was a lame statement in which he put the blame “on many sides.”

I’m sure the good ole’ boys with the Neo-Nazis, KKK and the other white nationalist groups that had gathered to express their anger over plans to remove a statue of Gen. Robert E. Lee from a park, high-fived each other on that one.

James Alex Fields Jr. | Photo courtesy of Albemarle County Jail/AFP/Getty Images

Trump changed his tune on Monday, after being swamped by criticism for giving hate groups a pass for inciting the violence.

“Racism is evil and those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs, including the KKK, Neo-Nazis, White Supremacists, and other hate groups that are repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans,” Trump said during an unscheduled press conference.

Talk about fake.

It took Trump’s communication advisers two whole days to craft that “heart-felt” expression for a grieving nation, and it was pure bull.

Here’s why:

At 7:54 a.m. on Monday, the president posted a nasty response to the CEO of Merck, Kenneth Frazier, who resigned from the president’s advisory manufacturing council.

Frazier, who is African-American, said in a statement: “America’s leaders must honor our fundamental values by clearly rejecting expressions of hatred, bigotry and group supremacy, which run counter to the American ideal that all people are created equal. As CEO of Merck and as a matter of personal conscience, I feel a responsibility to take a stand against intolerance and extremism.”

The president’s reaction, tweeted hours before his afternoon press conference, was typically childish:

“Now that Ken Frazier of Merck Pharma has resigned from President’s Manufacturing Council, he will have more time to LOWER RIPOFF DRUG PRICES!” the president said.

That’s like telling the white nationalists that put him in office: “Don’t worry guys, I got you.”

A makeshift memorial of flowers and a photo of victim Heather Heyer, sits in Charlottesville, Virginia, on Sunday, Aug. 13, 2017. Heyer died when a car rammed into a group of people who were protesting the presence of white supremacists who had gathered in the city for a rally. | Steve Helber/AP

If Trump really believes the white hate groups involved in Saturday’s demonstration are “repugnant,” he would have been far more understanding of Frazier’s decision to resign.

At the very least, Trump would have offered to clarify his earlier remarks.

Americans of all races are appalled by what unfolded in Charlottesville, as they should be.

Because when white men with torches, guns, bats and poles assault protesters standing against racism and bigotry — and the president doesn’t condemn the violence in the strongest terms possible —
we could find ourselves heading into the “race war” that white supremacists have been hoping for.

Additionally, what happened in Charlottesville was a terrorist attack by some of America’s earliest homegrown terrorists, Ku Klux Klan.

But Trump hasn’t called it that, perhaps practicing his own brand of “political correctness.”

 

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Yet he slammed the Mayor of London for being “too politically correct” after the London Bridge terror attack that killed seven people and injured 48 others in June.

In tacky Trump fashion, the president used Twitter to push his own agenda, in the wake of the London Bridge tragedy.

“We must stop being politically correct and get down to the business of security for our people. If we don’t get smart it will only get worse,” Trump tweeted on June 4, 2017.

John Avlon, Editor-in-Chief of the Daily Beast, called Trump’s tweets (he posted three): “petty, cruel, and stupid — blaming the victim and undercutting our allies in a moment of maximum pain and peril.”

At least Trump’s consistent.

After being in remission for decades, blatant hate has roared back and is spreading like a cancer.

We’re in trouble here folks, and not just because Trump is inept and arrogant, but because we have a president who is a master at manipulating the ignorant.

Don’t be fooled.

Trump meant what he said the first time.

Frankly, I don’t know which is more offensive: Trump’s truth or his lie.