Tag Archives: Charlottesville riot

Trump seeks to keep defying laws of political gravity

Color me baffled. Or mortified. Or, oh, maybe even bamboozled.

Donald John Trump’s latest outrage — where he equated Nazis and Klansmen with those who oppose them — would seem to the final “last straw” that sends his cadre of supporters scurrying elsewhere.

Hah! Hardly, according to a fascinating New York Times article profiling the Republican Party “base” that continues to hang with the president of the United States.

Here is the article.

Trump’s response to the Charlottesville mayhem has fallen along largely partisan lines, according to the Times. Most Republicans support the GOP president; only 10 percent of Democrats do.

Yes, there are signs that Trump’s GOP base is showing stress fractures, that it might be beginning to slip away. There remains, though, this hard-core base of supporters who stand with him. Why? He continues to stick it in the establishment’s eye. He talks plainly and with politically correct pretense, they say.

According to the Times: “It’s an indication of what now seems an almost immutable law of the Trump presidency. There are signs that Mr. Trump’s support among Republican leaders and some Republican voters is weakening. But in an increasingly tribal America, with people on the left and the right getting information from different sources and seeing the same facts in different ways, it reflects the way Mr. Trump has become in many ways both symbol and chief agitator of a divided nation.”

I’ll concede yet again that I’m a member of the “tribe” that has opposed Trump from the very beginning. He presents not a single redeeming quality to public life. He’s immoral and amoral at the same time. He has no ideology. His life is crammed full of examples of how his No. 1 objective has been geared toward personal enrichment.

Thus, when he denigrated Sen. John McCain’s military service, disparaged a Gold Star family, mocked a reporter’s physical disability and boasted about grabbing women by their private parts, this individual only reinforced every single negative impression I had of him. Accordingly, it has amazed me in the extreme that his political base has held together as firmly as it has … to date.

Again, from the Times: “Larry Laughlin, a retired businessman from a Minneapolis suburb, compares Mr. Trump to a high school senior who could ‘walk up to the table with the jocks and the cheerleaders and put them in their place.’ That is something that the ‘nerds and the losers, whose dads are unemployed and moms are working in the cafeteria,’ could never do. Mr. Trump may be rich, he said, but actually belonged at the nerd table.

“’The guys who wouldn’t like me wouldn’t like Trump,’ he said. ‘The guys who were condescending to him were condescending to me.'”

The president is counting on those folks to see him through this latest “last straw.” I’ll concede this point: When Trump said during the campaign that he could “shoot someone on Fifth Avenue” and retain his political core of support, he proved to be more correct than most of us ever imagined.

POTUS’s narcissism is without bottom

Donald John Trump Sr. put himself on full display earlier this week.

His ignorance and arrogance were supremely evident when he declared “both sides” were responsible for the violence that erupted in Charlottesville, Va., and when he attached a form of moral equivalence between the hate groups who marched and those who protested them.

Then, after his astonishing improv routine in the Trump Tower lobby, he walked away from the microphone and fielded a reporter’s question: Are you going to go to Charlottesville, Mr. President?

His answer was equally jaw-dropping. He didn’t speak about healing the community. He didn’t talk about the victims of the mayhem that erupted. He didn’t say a word about healing a nation in shock.

Oh, no. The braggart in chief talked about a winery he said he owns in Charlottesville. He called it the “largest winery” in the area, maybe in the state … hell, I don’t know. It doesn’t matter.

The point is that the man’s penchant for self-aggrandizement presented itself in full glory at the most inopportune time imaginable.

Try to fathom for a moment how we would react if Bill Clinton had done such a thing after Timothy McVeigh blew up the federal building in Oklahoma City; or if George W. Bush had refused to stand on the pile of rubble after the 9/11 attack; or if Barack Obama had not comforted the parents of the children slaughtered in Newtown, Conn., or not gone to the church in Charleston, S.C., and led the congregation in singing “Amazing Grace” after that hideous massacre.

Donald Trump should have suspended his vacation and flown immediately to Charlottesville to lend comfort to a community in absolute shock over the mayhem that erupted.

He didn’t do that. When given a chance to answer a direct question about how he intended to reach out to a community in distress, the idiot in chief talked about a winery.

Yep, he’s just “telling it like it is.”

Trumps to forgo presidential tradition

This is the least surprising development of the past few days regarding the presidency of Donald John Trump Sr.

The president and first lady are going to skip the Kennedy Center Honors annual ceremony. You wonder why? You know the answer, but I will offer my version of the rationale anyway.

The White House issued a statement that said the Trumps want the honorees to enjoy the ceremony without the “distractions” that have been swirling around of late.

Put another way: The president doesn’t want to get booed out of the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts building where the ceremony will take place later this year.

I get that. No president wants to be scorned during an event designed to honor the contributions to the arts by notable entertainment celebrities and artists.

Three honorees — TV producer Norman Lear, singer Lionel Richie and dancer Carmen de Lavallade — have said they would boycott the ceremony because of the firestorm that the president has ignited related to the Charlottesville, Va., riot. A fourth honoree, rapper/actor LL Cool J, hasn’t yet said whether he’ll attend; a fifth honoree, singer Gloria Estefan, said she’ll got but plans to try to persuade the president to change his tune about immigration policy.

This annual event usually features a first couple appearance at the Kennedy Center. Presidents and first ladies hobnob with the honorees and other invited guests. It’s one of the social events of the year.

The current president, though, has managed to make a mess of even that with his remarks after the riot that “both sides” were to blame for the violence. He then effectively put the hate group participants on the same level as those who gathered in Charlottesville to form a counter protest that turned violent and deadly.

Trump has a dicey relationship as it is with the arts community, given his cozying up with those who are anathema to the prevailing world view among artists. I don’t know about you but I am pretty sure you won’t find many artists aligning with white supremacists, Nazis and Ku Klux Klan members.

It’s all just as well that the Trumps stay away.

Put Confederates in museums, and study what they did

I suppose it’s time to make a decision on what I think we should do with these Confederates statues scattered around many of our states.

Put ’em in museums. Make displays of them and then explain to visitors who these men were, what they did and tell the world about the consequences of their actions.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott weighed in this week on the subject in the wake of the Charlottesville, Va., mayhem that left a young woman and two Virginia state troopers dead. The pro-Nazi/white supremacist/Klan march prompted a counter protest that turned violent.

And for what? Because the hate groups sought to protest the removal of a statue from a public park of Robert E. Lee, the Confederate general who led the army that fought against the United States of America.

According to the Texas Tribune  — “Racist and hate-filled violence – in any form — is never acceptable, and as Governor I have acted to quell it,” Abbott said in the statement. “My goal as governor is to eliminate the racist and hate-filled environment we are seeing in our country today.”

“But we must remember that our history isn’t perfect,” Abbott added. “If we do not learn from our history, we are doomed to repeat it. Instead of trying to bury our past, we must learn from it and ensure it doesn’t happen again. Tearing down monuments won’t erase our nation’s past, and it doesn’t advance our nation’s future. As Governor, I will advance that future through peace, not violence, and I will do all I can to keep our citizens safe.”

Those are noble words and sentiments. I am not going to go the distance on these monuments. I share Gov. Abbott’s view that they shouldn’t be torn down and destroyed. But I also share the view of those who wonder why we “honor” individuals who turned on the Republic, ignited a bloody Civil War and fought to preserve “states’ rights” to enslave human beings.

These traitors to the nation don’t deserve to be honored with parks and structures that carry their names. They don’t deserve to have statues displayed in public places frequented by Americans who are direct descendants of those who had been kept in bondage.

I rather would see these monuments relocated as museum pieces accompanied by narratives that explain who they are and the role they played in that terrible, dark chapter in our otherwise glorious national story.

The governor said removing the statues “won’t erase our nation’s past, and it doesn’t advance our nation’s future.”

It shouldn’t erase the past, governor. As for the future, well, we advance it by keeping the egregious errors of our past in full view and presenting it in complete context to ensure we don’t repeat them.

Now it’s the Arts Council calling it quits

It was a fairly big deal when two business-friendly advisory councils got disbanded in the wake of Donald John Trump’s bizarre remarks regarding the Charlottesville riot.

Several CEOs walked away from the councils. The president then disbanded them altogether.

Then the Joint Chiefs of Staff issued statements about their military services’ intolerance of racism and bigotry, seemingly to challenge the commander in chief’s statement equating the hate groups and those protesting them.

Now the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities has folded up. It’s gone. This isn’t such a huge surprise, given the artistic community’s contentious relationship with the Trump administration.

Taken together, though, I am left with the impression of a president becoming increasingly disengaged by special interests of virtually all stripes. The disbanding of the Manufacturing Council and the Strategic and Policy Council represents a serious breach between the business community and a president who has been touting his own business acumen and success.

The Joint Chiefs’ statement also speaks eloquently about whether the commander in chief is aware of the policies being implemented by the service commanders. That rebuke speaks loudly as well.

The Arts and Humanities council breakup isn’t such a surprise.

But in the context of the entire dismantling of all these advisory groups, it speaks volumes about how the Trump administration is managing to destroy these traditional relationships meant to build bridges between government and the interests it serves.

Again, the president’s words are doing harm across the board. The Arts and Humanities Council made its feeling known in a letter to the White House and to the president.

According to ABC News: “Ignoring your hateful rhetoric would have made us complicit in your words and actions,” the letter reads. “Supremacy, discrimination, and vitriol are not American values. Your values are not American values. We must be better than this. We are better than this. If this is not clear to you, then we call on you to resign your office, too.”

Donald Trump isn’t likely to quit just because some actors and other artists want to do so. He is quite likely, though, to continue inflicting damage.

‘Six Flags’ now all look alike

How about this?

Six Flags Over Texas, the noted theme park in Arlington, has made a fascinating decision about the flags it flies.

The Charlottesville riot and the blowback over symbols of the Confederate States of America has moved Six Flags to replace the various flags with just one: Old Glory.

Six Flags over Texas has removed the various colors it flew. The flags represented France, Spain, Mexico, the Republic of Texas, the Stars and Stripes and, yes, the Confederate States of America.

Now all six banners will be the United States national flag, the Old Red, White and Blue.

The outrage over Donald Trump’s comments about the riot, the notion that “both sides” were responsible for the violence that erupted, has prompted this change at the Six Flags theme park. The protest turned into a riot when counter protesters challenged Ku Klux Klansmen, white supremacists and neo-Nazis who had gathered to protest the removal of a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee from a public park. A young woman was killed during the riot when she was run over by a motor vehicle allegedly driven by a young man with neo-Nazi sympathies.

Six Flags spokespeople say the park has sought to display flags that illustrate “unity.” Given the harsh response to what transpired in Charlottesville, the park has decided that unity should be displayed in the form of Old Glory.

Which begs another fascinating question: How about the flags that fly during the musical “Texas”? The Texas Panhandle plays host every summer to the acclaimed musical “Texas” at Palo Duro Canyon. The show concludes with horsemen and women riding across the set carrying the “Six Flags” that represented the governments of Texas. One of them is, you guessed it, of the Confederacy.

Will the “Texas” producers follow the lead provided by Six Flags Over Texas? I salute Six Flags for demonstrating remarkable sensitivity to the national mood.

And do I sense a name change at the theme park is in the making?

Trump has riled a grieving mother

My memory at times lets me down, but I am pretty sure that in my lifetime I haven’t heard of anything quite like this.

The mother of a young victim of racial violence has declared her intention to refuse a call from the president of the United States of America when he gets around to making it.

Susan Bro’s daughter, Heather Heyer, was mowed down by someone driving a car into a crowd of counter protesters this past weekend in Charlottesville, Va. Heyer was among those protesting a demonstration by hate groups — Ku Klux Klansmen, neo-Nazis and white supremacists; the haters were protesting the taking down of a Confederate statue.

The young man arrested and charged with killing Heyer is known to have pro-Nazi, white supremacists views. Donald John Trump then took the floor at Trump Tower to say that “both sides” were equally to blame for the violence that erupted in Charlottesville.

That was too much for Bro. “I have not, and now I will not,” Bro said Friday when asked whether she had spoken with Trump. “You can’t wash this one away by shaking my hand and saying I’m sorry. I’m not forgiving for that.”

Amazing, yes?

There was more to Trump’s statement that enraged Bro. The president said there were “many fine people … on both sides” taking part in the demonstration. Fine people? Did he actually mean to suggest that those who march with neo-bleeping-Nazis are “fine people”?

The president has messed with a grieving mother. He once again exhibited his utter cluelessness about the weight of his words.

Nice try, Mitt; don’t wait for an apology

Mitt Romney gave it a shot.

The  Republican Party presidential nominee wants the current president to say he’s sorry for the despicable comments he has made about the Charlottesville riot. It amazes me, to be candid, that anyone would even think Donald John Trump is capable of apologizing.

I’ll give Romney credit for at least putting his request out there on the record.

As a matter of fact, I think I should say that given what the country has endured since the election of the current Republican president, the immediate past GOP presidential nominee is looking better all the time.

CNBC reported: “Regardless of whether he intended it, Trump’s words ’caused racists to rejoice, minorities to weep, and the vast heart of America to mourn,’ the former Republican presidential nominee and Massachusetts governor wrote in a Facebook post. Romney called on the president to apologize for his remarks.”

Again, from CNBC: “‘He should address the American people, acknowledge that he was wrong, apologize,’ Romney wrote. ‘State forcefully and unequivocally that racists are 100% to blame for the murder and violence in Charlottesville. Testify that there is no conceivable comparison or moral equivalency between the Nazis — who brutally murdered millions of Jews and who hundreds of thousands of Americans gave their lives to defeat — and the counter-protestors who were outraged to see fools parading the Nazi flag, Nazi armband and Nazi salute.'”

Here is the CNBC story.

There’s one serious drawback to Romney’s plea: It requires the president to feel a sense of shame. To feel shame, one must possess humility. One also must possess a conscience and a certain ability to look inward.

I keep waiting for some evidence of any of that from the president. I cannot find it. It’s nowhere to be seen in public. The man is without shame, conscience, humility or introspection. Didn’t he once say he never had sought forgiveness? For anything? Ever in his life?

An apology is a form of asking to be forgiven. Does anyone — even Mitt Romney — believe now is the time we’re going to hear such a thing from Donald Trump?

Thanks nevertheless for making the demand, Mitt.

President seeks to inflame emotions even more

I am about to embark on a futile and pointless mission, which is to try to talk some sense into the president of the United States of America.

Donald John Trump Sr. is planning a “campaign-style” rally in Phoenix, Ariz., next week. The city’s mayor has implored the president to forgo the visit.

The “why?” is simple. National tensions have hit a fever pitch. We’re still reeling over the Charlottesville riot and the death of young Heather Heyer and two Virginia state troopers. Klansmen, neo-Nazis and white supremacists gathered to launch a protest; counter protesters met them. They clashed and all hell broke loose.

The president then proceeded to absolutely demolish his moral authority on damn near anything by declaring that “both sides” were at fault and in the process virtually equated the racist, bigoted hate mongers with those who opposed them.

So now Trump wants to stage another rally out west? He wants to tell his adoring — but shrinking — cadre of supporters about all the good things that have occurred since he became president?

Memo to POTUS: There stands a very real chance, sir, that your rally is going to provoke more violence. It might go badly for everyone concerned.

Then there’s this: We’re hearing talk about the president possibly pardoning former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who has been convicted of violating the civil rights of illegal immigrants he had arrested. “Sheriff Joe” has become a darling of the anti-immigration movement, given his tough talk and actions.

I merely would implore the president to resist the temptation to pour even more fuel onto that already-burning blaze.

OK. I’ve stated my piece. I know it won’t matter one damn bit to the president or to his supporters who read this blog. However, I feel better having gotten it out there.

Now, let’s hope for the best — which would be for the president to skip this rally. Hey, maybe Ivanka can talk some sense into Dad’s thick, orange skull.

Sen. Corker: POTUS lacks ‘competence’ to lead

Bob Corker has just delivered a seriously sharp rebuke to Donald John Trump Sr.

Why is it important that such a rebuke comes from Corker?

He’s a Republican U.S. senator; he hails from Tennessee, one of the states that seceded from the Union in 1861; he is ostensibly allied with the president on most public policy issues.

The backdrop for Corker’s rebuke gives his statement plenty of gravitas.

The president weighed in on that terrible Charlottesville tragedy over the weekend. He has, in effect, taken up with the white supremacists who provoked the riot that killed a young woman who was among the counter protesters who battled with hate groups that were protesting the taking down of a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.

The nation is being swallowed up by the controversy that has ensued. Democrats, understandably, have been outraged by Trump’s remarks. Many Republicans have spoken out against racial or religious intolerance. Few of them in Congress have singled out the president and ascribed specific blame to him for inflaming the nation’s emotions in the wake of the Charlottesville tragedy.

Corker, though, has laid it out there.

“The President has not yet been able to demonstrate the stability nor some of the competence that he needs to be successful,” Corker said in Chattanooga, Tenn.

Welcome aboard, Sen. Corker. Many millions of Americans have been saying those very things — and a lot more — about the president. Many of us even said so while he was campaigning for the presidency. A few folks predicted he would govern like a maniac.

Count me as one who now believes that Trump is worse than I feared he would be. I was hoping he might be able to grow into the job of president.

Corker did use the phrase “not yet been able” when discussing Trump’s performance. The word “yet” suggests Corker believes — or hopes — the president will figure it out. I have little faith of that occurring.

Still, Sen. Corker’s rebuke is strong. It also is important.