Trump fails at simple task

Published 9:13 pm Wednesday, August 16, 2017

When David Duke, a former KKK grand wizard, is happy with your position on the violence in Charlottesville, you may want to rethink your position.

But that’s where President Trump found himself earlier this week after a press conference.

“You had a group on one side and you had a group on the other, and they came at each other with clubs and it was vicious and it was horrible. And it was a horrible thing to watch,” Trump said. “But there is another side. There was a group on this side, you can call them the left. You’ve just called them the left — that came violently attacking the other group. So you can say what you want, but that’s the way it is.”

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Trump’s both-sides-are-to-blame argument was met with approval from Duke. A Twitter account affiliated with him posted this: “Thank you President Trump for your honesty & courage to tell the truth about #Charlottesville & condemn the leftist terrorists in BLM/Antifa.”

Trump also said there were some “very fine people” who happened to be mixed in with the racists chanting slurs and carrying torches.

For those who already opposed Trump, this week has shown him to be a white nationalist sympathizer. For those who supported him, it showed him as someone unafraid to speak things that some have thought but dared not voice.

Trump’s comments about both sides being responsible for violence has a kernel of truth. But it’s also true that there would have been no violence if the so-called “alt-right” group hadn’t showed up with torches and racist chants.

It’s also true that violence on both sides does not make the two sides equal, or simply two sides of a heated political battle. One side is clearly wrong. People who promote that one race is superior are wrong. People who shout racial slurs and chant things not fit to print in this newspaper are wrong. People who murder are wrong.

It’s baffling that Trump on more than one occasion failed to say the right thing. All he had to do was condemn an act of terrorism. It’s not hard to name the group responsible and speak in clear terms about these views not being welcome in America.

But he didn’t. Others in his party found the right words. Sen. Marco Rubio blamed the organizers of the events. He called what happened terrorism. House Speaker Paul Ryan said this: We must be clear. White supremacy is repulsive. There can be no moral ambiguity.

Others had similar statements. Why couldn’t Trump say that? It’s a clear failure to do what presidents are often called to do following horrific events — help a nation unite and heal.