Politics & Policy

Trump Accurately Blames Both Sides for Charlottesville Mayhem

White supremacists clash with counter protesters at a rally in Charlottesville, Virginia (Reuters: Joshua Roberts)
The Trump-hating press hammered Trump’s factual ‘blame on both sides’ statement.

How dare he?

President Donald J. Trump stood before journalists on Tuesday and said the unsayable: “I think there is blame on both sides.”

Rather than denounce only the execrable white supremacists and swastika-wielding neo-Nazis who organized Saturday’s hate-o-rama in Charlottesville, Va., Trump observed that there was violence coming from the KKK side and from extreme leftists who opposed them with force — not with tranquility, as did those at a peaceful vigil Wednesday night.

The reaction to Trump’s comments was vitriolic:

“We can truly say his words have absolutely emboldened white supremacists,” said CNN anchor Anderson Cooper.

The Chicago Sun-Times called Trump “America’s bigot in chief.”

“This is not my president,” declared Senator Brian Schatz (D., Hawaii).

But if these and other Trump haters were outraged at Trump’s comments, where was their anger when the reliably liberal ACLU described the situation as it unfolded? “Not sure who provoked first. Both sides were hitting each other at Justice Park before police arrived,” the ACLU of Virginia declared via Twitter on Saturday afternoon. The group identified both factions in a video of an open-air brawl on Charlottesville’s streets. “The guy on the ground is a Unite the Right protester. Those in black and red are #Antifa protesters,” referring to far-left “anti-fascist” thugs. The ACLU labeled another violent snippet, “Clash between protesters and counter protesters.”

There was no angst when Reuters reported that “Many of the rally participants were seen carrying firearms, sticks and shields. Some also wore helmets. Counter-protesters likewise came equipped with sticks, helmets and shields.” Reuters correspondents Amanda Becker and Jeff Mason added, “The two sides clashed in scattered street brawls before a car plowed into the rally opponents, killing one woman and injuring 19 others.”

“Trump’s Response To Charlottesville Was Far Too Little And Way Too Late,” moaned a Huffington Post headline, echoing the capricious response among many a Trump basher. After he said the words that they wanted him to say, the Trump-hating press nevertheless attacked him for saying what he did, only 48 hours after he should have said it — as if Trump owned a time machine, but didn’t bother to use it.

And, on Tuesday, the Trump-hating press corps, pundits, and activists hammered the factual “blame on both sides” comments and ignored Trump’s remarks that the neo-Nazis and white nationalists are “rough, bad people” and “very bad people” who “should be condemned totally.”

Trump’s most troublesome words Tuesday were that, beyond the helmet-wearing Hitlerites, “You also had some very fine people on both sides.” The most charitable interpretation is that “very fine people” referred to those who showed up to protest peacefully against the removal of a statue of Confederate general Robert E. Lee and others who were there to counter-protest, also non-violently. Trump’s critics, of course, take a much darker view: Trump’s remark must have been a wink and a nod to white supremacists that he really is their man.

But this least-charitable theory does not square Trump’s alleged white nationalism with his verifiable actions. His daughter, son-in-law, and grandchildren are Jewish — about the worst thing one can be to a white supremacist, other than black. Rather than disown Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, Trump keeps them in the White House, as close advisers. Neo-Nazis likely were nauseated when Trump prayed at Jerusalem’s Western Wall, while wearing a yarmulke.

During last year’s fall campaign, Trump addressed black church parishioners in Detroit and Flint, Mich., advocated educational choice at a predominantly black charter school in Cleveland, and scored 8 percent of the black vote — not much, but one-third more than Mitt Romney earned in 2012. Having asked politely for black votes last fall, President Trump launched a White House initiative to support Historically Black Colleges and Universities, called education “the civil-rights issue of our time,” and asked Congress for “an education bill that funds school choice for disadvantaged youth, including millions of African American and Latino children.”

Does this sound like the behavior of a neo-Nazi sympathizer?

Seldom seen in this national meltdown is the name James Alex Fields Jr. He is the suspected neo-Nazi whom police arrested for turning his car into a weapon of hate, speeding it into a crowd of protesters, and thus killing Heather Heyer, 32, and injuring 19 others. Even though he faces second-degree-murder charges, surprisingly little of the national media and punditocracy’s fury is directed at Fields and his actions. Instead, the bitterness is pointed fully at Trump and his words — as imprecise and ill-timed as some of them were — as if the president of the United States, and not a 20-year-old bloodthirsty racist, were behind the wheel of that deadly Dodge Challenger.

Deroy Murdock is a Manhattan-based Fox News Contributor and a contributing editor at National Review Online.

Editor’s Note: This article originally referred to Hawaii senator Ben Schatz. The senator’s first name is Brian.

Deroy Murdock is a Manhattan-based Fox News contributor and a contributing editor of National Review Online, and a senior fellow with the London Center for Policy Research.


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