Alan Zendell, August 13, 2017
One of the worst moments in one of the most poorly executed presidential campaigns in recent memory was Hillary’s ill-advised characterization of Donald Trump’s supporters as a Basket of Deplorables. Of course, she didn’t mean that to be taken literally to apply to everyone who supported him. Nonetheless, the offended outcry from Trump and his people reverberated for months.
In a campaign in which Trump constantly lied, contradicted himself, insulted various ethnic groups and threw around wild accusations, he was adored by his supporters for plainly speaking his mind. The talking heads on his payroll said we shouldn’t take everything he said seriously. He was a man of big ideas, not a detail person, as if respect for facts was too vulgar or arcane for someone of his stature.
Yesterday, in Charlottesville, we got a look at what Hillary was referring to, though I call them the Despicables. Heavily armed, helmeted white supremacists, neo-Nazis, skinheads, Ku Klux Klansmen, Jew haters, and Muslim haters joined forces to terrorize the lovely city of Thomas Jefferson and one of the middle Atlantic’s finest universities. And it was all live on cable news all over the world. What do you suppose the billion or so people around the world thought when they heard David Dukes proclaim that they were there to take back the country to fulfill Donald Trump’s legacy? What must they have thought when Trump failed to respond directly to those animals and separate himself from them?
Nicolas Maduro, the new President of Venezuela whose human rights violations are so egregious that Trump threatened him with military action surely loved it. So too, Trump’s new best buddy, Vladimir Putin, who wants only the best for the American people. And Kim Jong Un must have been apoplectic with joy. I’ll bet he even showed it to his people on the closed North Korean intranet.
Trump spent years attacking Barrack Obama and Hillary Clinton for refusing to describe ISIS and Al Qaeda as “radical Islamic terrorists.” After all, isn’t that what those murderers and torturers really are? Didn’t they distort their holy Koran into an abomination that justified their world Jihad? And wasn’t the fact that a small percentage of Muslims subscribed to that madness enough to convince Trump to try to ban all 1.8 billion of them from entering our country?
If driving a car into a crowd of pedestrians in France or Germany is an example of radical Islamic terrorism, how should we characterize the action of the crazed neo-Nazi who did it in Virginia? How about “radical Christian terrorism?” Both the Klan and the Nazis based their extreme views on weirdly distorted interpretations of the Christian bible. Somehow, they concluded that their Christian God intended his followers to be genetically pure, and it was their holy mission to cleanse the world of mongrels. That’s what runs through the minds of the Despicables who terrorized Charlottesville yesterday.
Why, then, can our president not utter the words that people all over the United States are waiting to hear? Why would he blame the violence in Charlottesville on hate from many sides. And while we’re at it, why is it wrong to despise white supremacists and stand up to them?
Republican Senators Orrin Hatch (UT) and Cory Gardner (CO) tweeted, “We should call evil by its name,” and Gardner followed with, “Mr. President – these were white supremacists and this was domestic terrorism.” Marco Rubio (R, FL) tweeted, “Donald Trump needs to clearly denounce white supremacists in Charlottesville,” and Michael Signer, the mayor of Charlottesville implored the president to look in the mirror and reflect on who he consorted with. Of course, they’re all right, so why won’t Trump do it?
Because on one hand, Trump’s White House includes Alt-Right ideologues like Steve Bannon and Stephen Miller, and on another, poorly stated as it was, what Hillary said was true. The Despicables who committed those acts in Virginia are very much a part of Trump’s base, and if there is anything we know about Donald Trump it’s that he craves adoration. His shrinking approval numbers show that aside from his base, no one loves his administration, and judging by the crowds I saw on TV yesterday, the Despicables are numerous enough that he can’t afford to alienate them if he expects to be re-elected.
Failing to cleanse his administration of the Alt-Right is the antithesis of Trump’s catch phrase, “Make America Great Again.” If yesterday was an example of what he considers leadership, he has lost any claim he may have had to legitimacy. Do us all a favor, Donald. Accept that you are a failure as president, give the nuclear button to someone we can trust, and go back to making money and playing golf.