Tuesday, August 15, 2017

The silent president's supporters have "murder on their minds".

At a Donald Trump rally, supporters call for<br>the death of Hillary Clinton.
At a Donald Trump rally, supporters call for
the death of Hillary Clinton.

Back in July of 2016 I blogged about Lessons from Trump’s rallies: ungentleness at best, bloodlust at worst. Here are quotes attributed to Trump supporters from a New Republic article I cited.

  • "Trump That Bitch”
  • “Hang that bitch”
  • "Hang Hillary!”
  • Clinton should be “shot, executed” for “high treason.”
  • The first time I heard someone yell “Hang that bitch!” was during a speech by Trump policy advisor Stephen Miller. I heard “hang that bitch” at least twice more during Trump’s speech,
  • A pro-immigration protester … wearing a sign that says “veteran: u.s.m.c. and c.i.a.,” tells me that two Trump supporters came up to him separately after the Fountain Hills rally and whispered “almost verbatim the same thing, not quite, but in a nutshell”: that they’d like to shoot him in the back of the head.
  • Later that night, in a frenzy himself, the architect of this bloodlust would tweet that “Crooked Hillary” got away with “murder.”

And that’s how Trump supporters “got murder on their minds.” He owns all of that.

But he does try to cover it up. Here is his initial statement about the attack in Charlottesville.

We condemn in the strong possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides.

He repeated “on many sides.” The false equivalence in that statement caused a national firestorm. The result was that, while the president was silent for two days, the WH crafted a different statement for another Trump try. The NY Times has the story.

“Racism is evil,” said Mr. Trump, delivering a statement from the White House at a hastily arranged appearance meant to halt the growing political threat posed by the situation. “And those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs, including the K.K.K., neo-Nazis, white supremacists and other hate groups that are repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans.”

Yet even Mr. Trump’s allies worried that his measured remarks, delivered two days after dozens of public figures issued more forceful denunciations, came too late to reverse the self-inflicted damage on his moral standing as president. And they came on the heels of a snide remark by Mr. Trump on Twitter about the resignation of the head of the pharmaceuticals company Merck, who is black, for quitting an advisory board over the president’s initial failure to criticize white nationalists.

And now another CEO has quit that advisory board. CNN reports Under Armour CEO quits Trump’s manufacturing council.

The reactions of the [August 14th Morning Joe panel] were right on the mark. “The panel continues its discussion about the weekend violence in Charlottesville during a white supremacist rally and President Trump’s response to the rally, which many saw as insufficient.” The White House’s managed statement was seen as “playing the game.” “OK, fine. You guys win. We’ll say what you want us to say.”

AZBlueMeanie relays reactions from conservatives in A failure of moral leadership.

I watched an interview with Bill Kristol of the conservative Weekly Standard, who said that he has “given up” on Donald Trump ever being capable of moral leadership. Donald Trump has no interest in providing moral leadership. Kristol called on Republican governors, mayors, civic and religious leaders to fill the void of moral leadership lacking from Donald Trump.

Kristol, as well as many Republican elected officials and political pundits, have been highly critical of Trump’s failure to condemn White supremacist groups for their violent rally in Charlottesville, Virginia on Saturday.

Trump’s reticence was because these white supremacist groups are a key constituency of his base. It was a crass political calculation.

The Blue Meanie quotes David French, editor of the National review:

As David French of the conservative National Review said, The Alt-Right’s Chickens Come Home to Roost:

Incredibly, key elements of the Trump coalition, including Trump himself, gave the alt-right aid and comfort. Steve Bannon, the president’s chief strategist, proclaimed that his publication, Breitbart.com, was the “the platform for the alt-right,” Breitbart long protected, promoted, and published Milo Yiannopolous – the alt-right’s foremost “respectable” defender – and Trump himself retweeted alt-right accounts and launched into an explicitly racial attack against an American judge of Mexican descent, an attack that delighted his most racist supporters.

In other words, if there ever was a time in recent American political history for an American president to make a clear, unequivocal statement against the alt-right, it was today. Instead, we got a vague condemnation of “hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides.” This is unacceptable, especially given that Trump can be quite specific when he’s truly angry. Just ask the Khan family, Judge Curiel, James Comey, or any other person he considers a personal enemy. Even worse, members of the alt-right openly celebrated Trump’s statement, taking it as a not-so-veiled decision to stand against media calls to condemn their movement.

In the end the White House covering statement rings as hollow as the silent president.

And it will keep getting worse. Here’s an attack ad released Sunday (h/t AZBlueMeanie), Trump TV Ad Attacks Democrats, Media As ‘The President’s Enemies’.

With “murder on their minds” what could go wrong?

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