Different rules

David Graham at the Atlantic asks a necessary question – why is Trump so speedy at jumping to conclusions about what he takes to be Islamist terrorism and so slow and cautious about a bit of white supremacist terrorism caught on video?

For the second time in a month, President Trump has rushed to condemn a terrorist attack abroad as the work of Islamist terrorists, speaking out before the facts are known even to local officials. Trump’s remarks came just a day after he once again insisted he was right to cast blame on both sides after violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August. And they renew the question of why he is so quick to speak with such clarity in cases involving Islamist terrorism and yet so deliberate and equivocating in a clash involving white supremacists.

Sadly, it’s not even a question. He likes the white supremacists. He likes what they’re doing. He made Jeff Sessions Attorney General so that he Sessions could suppress the black vote as he’s spent his whole career trying to do. He’s an active, enthusiastic racist.

Shooting from the hip is not unusual for Trump. After an attack in Barcelona last month, Trump quickly condemned it as terror and resurrected an old and slanderous falsehood about General John Pershing’s handling of Muslim fighters in the Philippines. Earlier this year, he got into a tiff with London Mayor Sadiq Khan over the response to terror, also drawing chastisement from British authorities. And during the presidential campaign, he was quick to label the downing of an EgyptAir flight as terror, even though few facts were then known.

The London attack and Trump’s speculative response to it comes the day after he reaffirmed his “both sides” response to Charlottesville. On Wednesday, Trump met with Senator Tim Scott, a black Republican from South Carolina who had been critical of Trump’s response to the attacks. Scott tried to impress upon Trump the long history that fed into the clash.

“I shared my thoughts of the last three centuries of challenges from white supremacists, white nationalists, KKK, Nazis,” Scott said. “So there’s no way to find an equilibrium when you have three centuries of history versus the situation that is occurring today.”

And Trump listened, and finally got the point?

Scott did not seem optimistic that Trump had grasped the lesson. Asked whether Trump expressed regret, the senator said, “He certainly tried to explain what he was trying to convey.” He also offered caution about future statements, using the soft condescension that allies often use when discussing the president: “Anyone that expects an epiphany or a transformation to happen overnight because somebody walks in a room, I think you don’t understand human nature.”

Human nature is one thing, and Trump nature is another. It’s a bit insulting to humans to imply that Trump stands for all of us. Trump is exceptionally uninformed, and thick, and narcissistic, and callous.

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