I am appalled, dismayed, and angered with President Trump’s response to Charlottesville, especially his infamous press conference on Tuesday, but what I am not is surprised. Some people may be shocked by Trump’s recent turn in attitude, but we’ve seen Tuesday’s version of Donald Trump for more than two years.
For instance, he still has yet to apologize for bashing Mexicans as criminals, rapists, and drug dealers in his kickoff campaign speech. He’s never explained his disgraceful slandering of a U.S.-born federal judge who is of Mexican descent. He continues to overstate, or just make up, claims about undocumented immigrants, ranging from rampant criminality to illegal voting.
Yet on Tuesday, the president claimed that he wants the facts to inform his decisions, but one look at his attempt at immigration policy will show you how much interest he has in facts. The rationale for his draconian immigration policies is devoid of facts, instead it is steeped in the kind of myths and lies that have been a trademark of his political career.
But when confronted with the facts of a vile event—a protest by White supremacists and Neo-Nazis that resulted in death and mayhem in Charlottesville—he evades blame and ends up defending the indefensible. President Trump’s refrain of “many sides” and other attempts at moral equivalency are predictable, but no less disgusting. The truth is that, even though he swears the opposite, Trump has done more than any American in recent years to empower White supremacists and neo-Nazis in this country.
In short, President Trump has taken a side, a side that is antithetical to everything this country stands for. A side that believes that diversity is our Achilles’ heel instead of our strength and that champions or, at the very least, condones hatred, division, intolerance, and bigotry.
President Trump has always been very clear about who he is and what he stands for. He’s not going to change; Tuesday’s press conference is proof of that. It was this display of naked bigotry and defense of White Supremacy and anti-Semitism that forced corporate America into its own stark choice about whether to continue to serve on White House-led economic councils. Their decision may have been pragmatic. Unlike the President who, according to a Washington Post article today, lives in a Fox News bubble, corporate CEOs live in the real world where their customers, clients, and employees represent the full diversity of today’s America. Maybe their decision was morally-based, unable to continue supporting a President whose beliefs fly in the face of their own company’s and country’s values. It may be both. Regardless, these corporate titans made the right decision and we applaud them for it.
The question then remains is how long will the Republican Congressional leadership continue turning a blind eye to the president’s explicit championing of violent, bigoted, and hate-filled extremists? And is the Republican party willing to be permanently known as the party of White Supremacy? If not, it’ll take more than scolding the president through Twitter and press statements. It’ll take action, both in word and in deed. The vast majority of today’s Americans await their decision.