Nazis and neo-Confederates descended on Charlottesville, Virginia, this weekend to protest the removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee and publicly revel in racial hatred. As one would expect from a celebration of fascism, violence attended every moment of the demonstrations, beginning with a tiki-torch recreation of a NDSAP march through the UVA campus on Friday night. White nationalist marchers — howling racial epithets and carrying assault weapons — clashed with counter-protesters in an escalating series of incidents until Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) declared a state of emergency.
On Saturday afternoon, the violence turned deadly as a car allegedly driven by James Alex Fields Jr. plowed through a counter-protest march, killing at least one person and injuring 19 others.
This is the crisis that critics has been fearing ever since Donald Trump took the oath of office. And President Trump’s miserable response to the bloodshed and rancor that the far right brought to Virginia this weekend is easily the worst failure of his already irredeemable presidency. Trump failed in this crisis for two interrelated reasons: pathological self-focus and political cowardice.
To rise to a moment like this requires an understanding of the forces at play and the long history of racial violence that the far-right demonstrations in Charlottesville emerged from. Trump, as president, is in the position of having to confront the country’s deep legacy of racism and provide reassurance at a time when literal Nazis are causing riots in the streets. But Trump can’t do either of these things because he seems to neither know nor care about anything that doesn’t directly affect him personally.
In Trump’s statement on Charlottesville, the president said nothing specifically about the anti-Semites, Nazis, and other racist trash who fomented the weekend’s violence. Instead he vaguely denounced the “egregious display of hatred, bigotry, and violence on many sides, on many sides.” The president said nothing about the person who died while protesting against fascism in an American city, but he did make sure to excuse himself of any responsibility: “It’s been going on for a long time in our country. Not Donald Trump. Not Barack Obama. It’s been going on for a long, long time.” (Trump later wrote a tweet offering “condolences” to the family of the victim and “best regards” to all the injured.)
After getting those perfunctory remarks out of the way, Trump talked up the economy a bit (“we …read more
Source:: The Week – Politics