The “of course” brigade appears

Now Trump’s people are dutifully lining up to say of course he condemned the Nazis in Charlottesville, it’s obvious that he did, he was unambiguous about it.

The White House said in a statement Sunday that when President Trump condemned “all forms of violence, bigotry and hatred” that were on display in Charlottesville this weekend “of course that includes white supremacists, KKK, Neo-Nazi and all extremist groups.”

Of course. Of coursey course.

But inclusion of Nazis wasn’t what was needed. That “and all extremist groups” at the end wasn’t and isn’t what was needed. “Everybody was to blame” isn’t what’s needed. A robust condemnation of racism and racist hatred and incitement of racist hatred is what’s needed. That’s what Trump refused to give.

You can tell the “from many sides” part wasn’t in the prepared remarks he was haltingly reading. You can tell from the way he looks up and throws his arm out to the side – you can see that that’s one of his ad libs.

And three of Trump’s top advisers appeared on Sunday morning news shows to defend the vague statement that the president delivered the previous afternoon at his private golf club in New Jersey, although their messaging shifted as the morning progressed. Ivanka Trump, the president’s eldest daughter and a top adviser, broke with her father’s messaging Sunday morning to tweet: “There should be no place in society for racism, white supremacy and neo-nazis.”

Yes, and then she immediately returned to her father’s message with the second tweet – and she numbered them, so we know the two are one statement – that what we need is to Unite as Americans.

National security adviser H.R. McMaster said on ABC News that the president was “very clear” in his statement and “called out anyone, anyone who is responsible for fomenting this kind of bigotry, hatred, racism and violence.” Later in the morning, McMaster added on NBC News that it “ought to be clear to all Americans” that Trump’s comments about bigotry and hatred included white supremacists and neo-Nazis.

Yes, and that’s the problem, because his comments merely “included” the murderous Nazis. He needs to single them out. It wasn’t a lefty who drove that car into the crowd.

CIA Director Mike Pompeo said on CBS News that the president was “specific,” “very clear” and, “frankly, pretty unambiguous” in responding to the violence. He added: “When someone marches with a Nazi flag, that is unacceptable, but I think that’s what the president’s saying.”

No, it’s not. He specifically, deliberately avoided saying that. He raised his head and threw his arm out to say “from many sides, from many sides.” He didn’t need to say that. I think it was probably not in the prepared statement. He chose to say it. It’s a lie.

Tom Bossert, Trump’s homeland security adviser, who has been in direct contact with Charlottesville authorities, repeatedly praised the president on CNN for not naming the groups that were involved and instead focusing on an overarching call for Americans to love one another.

To love one another? Did he say that? Not that I’ve seen. He told us to “unite.” I don’t recall anything about love. And not naming the groups involved is not something to praise him for. We know who the groups are, and we know they are devoted fans and admirers of Trump’s. This is his baby, not ours.

Bossert said that people “on both sides” showed up in Charlottesville “looking for trouble” and that he won’t assign blame for the death of a counterprotester on either group, although he said the president would like to see “swift justice” for the victim. After repeated questioning, Bossert did say that he personally condemns “white supremacists and Nazi groups that espouse this sort of terrorism and exclusion.” He did not say whether the president agrees with him on that.

It must be awkward to be a Nazi in a Nazi administration and be pressed to reject Nazism on national tv.

While Bossert acknowledged that white supremacy is a problem in the country, he quickly shifted to talking about the greater threat of “a global jihadi terrorist problem.” This is a common tactic used by the Trump administration, which considered refocusing the government’s Countering Violent Extremism program on Islamist groups, not white supremacists, and has proposed slashing funding for the program. A recent study found that between 2008 and 2016, the number of designated terrorist attacks on U.S. soil carried out by right-wing extremist groups, including white supremacists, outnumbered those carried out by Islamists by 2 to 1.

Trump has a lot more in common with Islamists than lefties do (though many lefties fail to grasp that). Both have contempt for women, both have contempt for gay men (I think they ignore lesbians), both love a good fight.

Numerous Republicans and Democrats have criticized the usually blunt-speaking president for reacting to the violence and racism in Charlottesville in such vague terms, for placing equal blame on the counterprotesters and for not specifically condemning the white supremacists involved.

Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) urged the president to use the words “white supremacists” and to label what happened Saturday as a terrorist attack. House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) declared that “white supremacy is a scourge” that “must be confronted and defeated.” Sen. Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah) tweeted, “We should call evil by its name. My brother didn’t give his life fighting Hitler for Nazi ideas to go unchallenged here at home.”

Charlottesville Mayor Michael Signer (D) has directly blamed Trump for the explosion of hate in his city this weekend, and he continued to do so Sunday in an interview with CNN. He accused Trump of intentionally courting white supremacists, nationalists and anti-Semitic groups on the campaign trail, and he criticized the president for not condemning these groups.

“This is not hard. There’s two words that need to be said over and over again: domestic terrorism and white supremacy,” Signer said. “That is exactly what we saw on display this weekend, and we just aren’t seeing leadership from the White House.”

If you vote a hate-mongering racist misogynist evil toad of a man president, this is what you get.

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