MITCHELL: Trump fails moral test on racism
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Most of us knew Donald Trump didn’t mean a word of what he said on Monday when he called out the white supremacists for the weekend violence in Charlottesville, Virginia.
After all, Trump won the White House with the help of people who call me complaining that there is a “NAACP” and not a “NAAWP.” Of course he wouldn’t blame white supremacists for the violent confrontations.
Still, in times of a domestic crisis, we expect the president to help us to remember we are all Americans.
Trump just can’t do that.
He rubbed salt in the wounds of the families affected by the violence in Charlottesville on Saturday when he failed to immediately condemn the white hate groups, saying “many sides” were to blame for the violence.
Although he called out the KKK, white supremacists, and neo-Nazis on Monday, Trump became so frustrated by the media on Tuesday, his real feelings came out:
“I watched those very closely . . . and you had a group on one side that was bad, and a group on the other side that was also very violent. And nobody wants to say that, but I’ll say it right now. You had a group — you had a group on the other side that came charging in without a permit and they were very, very violent,” Trump said.
Not once has Trump acknowledged that racial hatred is at the root of white supremacist groups.
Instead, Trump is defending these groups by putting them on par with social justice groups that have historically stood against hate groups like the ones that organized the demonstration in Charlottesville.
“I have condemned neo-Nazis. I have condemned them, but not all of those people were white supremacists by any stretch, those people were also there because they want to protest the statue of Robert L. Lee,” Trump said, adding that he noticed a statue of Stonewall Jackson is coming down.
“I wonder if it is George Washington or Thomas Jefferson next week. You really do have to ask yourself where does it stop,” he said.
I could have been listening to one of the white haters who call me and leave ugly messages spewing the same nonsense.
Throughout his campaign, Trump tried to make the case that, if elected, he would be the president for everyone.
Tuesday’s press conference made it clear that is not the case.
There’s no way a president of the United States, where people of all races and ethnicities live — work and play together — should have used his voice to support white supremacists, the KKK or the neo-Nazis protesting anything.
These people are trying to hold onto a bygone era, which is why they showed up waving burning torches.
These are people who have no understanding of the horrible impact slavery had on black families — and don’t care.
These are Holocaust deniers and racists who thought Trump’s campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again,” meant “Make America White Again.”
No matter what your political affiliation happens to be, the images of white men and women carrying burning torches down the street to a peaceful rally should give you the chills.
The mayor of Charlottesville took a moral stand when he declared, “We don’t want you here,” after 32-year-old Heather Heyer was killed and 19 others injured when James Alex Fields, 20, a neo-Nazi enthusiast, drove his car into a crowd of counter-protesters.
That Trump could place “blame on both sides” makes him a disgrace to the office.
It also shows that while he is always harping about not being a politician, he’s pandering to his base of angry white men.
But that’s not what worries me the most.
What worries me the most is that there are people who support the racist ideology that was on display in Charlottesville.
Frankly, when Steve Bannon, a leader in the alt-right movement, and the former head of Breitbart News, ended up in the West Wing as Trump’s chief strategist, it opened the door for such confrontations.
I’m sure there are a lot of people in the Republican Party who must be just as appalled as I am by Trump’s stance on the attack in Charlottesville.
They need to speak up — and speak up loudly.
And the African-Americans who have supported Trump and urged other blacks to do the same — they need to be packing their boxes.
As the late poet Maya Angelou said, “If someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.”
Trump’s about Trump.