Tag Archives: Charlottesville riot

Did we elect a flaming racist?

Follow me through this sequence for a brief moment.

* A riot breaks out in Charlottesville, Va., when counter protesters objected to white nationalists, neo-Nazis and Ku Klux Klansmen gathered to protest the removal of a Confederate statue. Three people died. The president of the United States, Donald Trump, issues a tepid statement that talks of “many sides” being guilty of inciting violence.

* Two days later, after getting pounded by, um, many sides, Trump finally issues a statement condemning by name the white racist groups associated with the riot.

* Today, Merck CEO Kenneth Frazier resigned from the President’s Manufacturing Council over the president’s failure to respond appropriately to the race-based riot in Virginia. It took Trump all of 54 minutes to fire off a snark-laden tweet that suggests Frazier could now spend more time to deal with “rip-off drug prices.”

* Later in the day, Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank quits the same council. Plank cited the same reasons as Frazier. Trump remained quiet via Twitter. No criticism of Plank. Nothin’.

This is important, too: Frazier is black; Plank is white.

I need some help on this one. Why do you suppose the president was so quick on the Twitter trigger finger regarding Frazier’s resignation, but has remained silent on Plank’s decision to quit? Is there a relationship between those responses and the president’s initial public reaction to the violence?

Is it a coincidence? Or are there some motives that need careful examination? I’m just askin’, man.

Reason required cancellation of A&M rally

Reason and sanity have prompted an eminently wise decision in Aggieland.

Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp has cancelled a white nationalist rally that was scheduled for the College Station campus.

Gosh, what do you suppose prompted the cancellation?

Oh yeah! It was that hideous riot at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, the one that resulted in the deaths of three individuals. Ku Klux Klansmen, neo-Nazis and assorted white nationalists gathered there to protest the removal of a Confederate statue. All hell broke loose when counter protesters showed up.

Texas A&M was set to step into the crosshairs by agreeing to play host to its own white nationalist rally set for Sept. 11.

Then the chancellor intervened. Sharp cited safety concerns in ordering the rally canceled. According to the Austin American-Statesman, several Texas legislators urged cancellation of the rally that had been organized by a group promoting the event as a “White Lives Matter” protest. Read the rest of the American-Statesman story here.

The Charlottesville tragedy has ignited a rhetorical firestorm. Donald J. Trump threw a load of flammable liquid on it Saturday by initially declining to condemn the racists/bigots whose protests provoked the response they received. The president had a chance to lead, but then he failed to do so.

Today, the president called out the racists by name. It’s likely not enough to quell the uproar.

To that end, the A&M System has done the profoundly correct thing — given the national mood of the moment — to cancel a rally that well could have turned into another riot.

Good call, Chancellor Sharp.

‘You can’t unhonk the horn’

Former Secretary of State John Kerry spoke a fundamental truth about how difficult it is to take back public statements.

Donald J. Trump said the patently wrong thing about the violence that erupted over the weekend in Charlottesville, Va., calling an end to violence “on many sides.”

Rather than single out the white nationalists, neo-Nazis and Ku Klux Klansmen who initiated the violence, Trump chose instead to equivocate shamefully.

Well, he took a baby step toward redemption today by singling out the racists and bigots who gathered in Charlottesville to protest the taking down of a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee. Many observers have noted that the president seemed a bit uncomfortable today as he delivered his prepared remarks.

Kerry, though, said you can’t “take back” the “many sides” comment. Kerry called the president’s first response “revealing” and said they had empowered “the worst of the worst.”

Trump tried to take it back but failed, according to Kerry.

I’m reminded of what my late friend and former colleague Claude Duncan was fond of saying: “You can’t unhonk the horn.”

Indeed, people in high places aren’t usually allowed to take mulligans. There aren’t any do-overs — especially for the president of the United States, whose words resonate and keep resonating long after he utters them.

Trump finally says what he should’ve said the first time

That wasn’t so painful, was it, Mr. President?

Donald J. Trump returned to the White House — aka “a real dump” — to sign an executive order and then deliver some remarks about the “criminals and thugs” who instigated the deadly race riot in Charlottesville, Va., over the weekend. He had been facing immense pressure from, um, “many sides” as a result of his initial response to the violence.

The president said what he needed to say at the outset. The Klan, neo-Nazis and assorted white supremacist groups provoked a riot while protesting the planned removal of a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee. It went bad bigly.

Trump has condemned racism and bigotry and called out the white supremacists and Nazis as “criminals and thugs.” He called them what they are. Trump said “racism is evil” and said hate groups such as neo-Nazis and white supremacists “are repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans.”

How far will his remarks go in healing the damage that already has been done by his initial remarks in which he blamed “many sides” for the violence that erupted? Time will tell.

If he had asked for my opinion, I would have preferred that the president atone more directly for his error of omission. He should have acknowledged publicly in the White House that he erred in failing to respond appropriately.

Moreover, he could have said categorically that he does not welcome the overt political support of individuals such as one-time Ku Klux Klan grand dragon/lizard David Duke, who over the weekend invoked Trump’s name. Duke said he wants to “take our country back” and said “that’s why we voted for Donald Trump.”

He didn’t do those things. The president did say the right words — today! I still have to ask: Did they come from his heart, his soul?

Please demonstrate that they did, Mr. President.

Trump shows yet again his true self

It took Donald John Trump several hours to say something publicly about the riot in Charlottesville, Va.

His remarks missed by a mile. Then Kenneth Frazier resigned from the President’s Manufacturing Council in protest over the tone of the president’s remarks on the riots. They didn’t go far enough, Frazier said. The president needed to condemn the racists and neo-Nazis who provoked the riot.

So, the Merck CEO quit the president’s council.

You can read Frazier’s remarks here.

How long did it take for Trump to respond to Ken Frazier’s resignation? Hardly no time at all.

He tweeted this: “now that Ken Frazier of Merck Pharma has resigned from President’s Manufacturing Council, he will have more time to LOWER RIPOFF DRUG PRICES!”

OK, did I mention that Kenneth Frazier is African-American? Oh, wait! I just did.

There you go. I believe we have just witnessed another remarkable demonstration of the president’s lack of character.

‘These contemptible little men … ‘

The condemnations are rolling in from the Republican Party’s side of the great American political divide.

U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas, weighed in with a message he delivered from the Balkans, where he is touring during the August congressional break.

Regarding the white supremacists who instigated the Charlottesville, Va., riot that resulted in the horrific death of a counter protester, Cotton referred to the neo-Nazis as “contemptible little men” who deserve the full brunt of whatever punishment the law would deliver to them.

And yet …

The nation’s Republican in chief, the president of the United States, seems to be standing by that shamefully tepid statement in which he lays the blame for the violence “on many sides.”

He refuses to call the white nationalists/racists/neo-Nazis out by name. Donald Trump refuses to do what he and others insisted Barack Obama do when talking about international terrorism; they insisted that the former president state specifically “radical Islamic terrorists.”

It’s clear to me now that whatever measures the president might take to atone for his egregious error of omission must refer to his mistake. He must acknowledge out loud — and in full voice — that he erred when he spoke of “many sides.” He had a chance to condemn the hate groups that foment the violence we witnessed but he blew it.

Anything short of a presidential mea culpa will lend utter hollowness to whatever he says now.

Do you expect him to do such a thing? Neither do I.

Not all Trumps are as clueless as POTUS

What do you know about this?

First daughter Ivanka Trump has said something Dad couldn’t bring himself to say, which is to condemn white nationalists, and neo-Nazis.

Ivanka fired off a tweet that said: “There should be no place in society for racism, white supremacy and neo-nazis.”

The young woman just took several giant steps beyond what her father, the president of the United States, said rather meekly about the Charlottesville, Va., riot that resulted in the death of a counter protester.

It all started when a group of white supremacists and Nazi sympathizers protested the decision to take down a state of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee. It went downhill from the get-go.

The president then blamed “many sides” for the violence, refusing to call out the hate groups that provoked the riot in the first place. The president seeks to portray himself as a strong man. He instead comes off as a weakling, a wimp.

So now Ivanka has entered the discussion with a patently reasonable and well-aimed statement that should have come from the president of the United States.

Here is how to respond to violence

There’s been no shortage of outrage being expressed today over the violence that erupted in Charlottesville, Va.

It has come from across the partisan divide. Republicans and Democrats alike have spoken eloquently about their outrage at the violence perpetrated by the white supremacists who gathered there to make whatever statements they want to make. They have spoken as one.

I want to share a statement that came from U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, the Texas Republican who’s been a target of this blog on many occasions over the years. Today, though, I want to applaud Sen. Cruz for speaking eloquently and passionately about an incident that has consumed the nation.

It’s tragic and heartbreaking to see hatred and racism once again mar our great Nation with bloodshed. Heidi’s and my prayers are with the loved ones of those killed and injured in the ongoing violence in Charlottesville. The First Amendment protects the rights of all Americans to speak their minds peaceably, but violence, brutality, and murder have no place in a civilized society.

The Nazis, the KKK, and white supremacists are repulsive and evil, and all of us have a moral obligation to speak out against the lies, bigotry, anti-Semitism, and hatred that they propagate. Having watched the horrifying video of the car deliberately crashing into a crowd of protesters, I urge the Department of Justice to immediately investigate and prosecute this grotesque act of domestic terrorism.

These bigots want to tear our country apart, but they will fail. America is far better than this. Our Nation was built on fundamental truths, none more central than the proposition “that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness”.

Well said, sir. Thank you.

Trump fails leadership test with tepid response to violence

We hear it all … the … time.

Someone takes the heat for a political error or for acting badly and they seek to deflect the harsh negative light by saying, “Yes, but both sides are guilty of it, too.”

Both sides do it. All sides do it. Don’t blame me. Or the people on my side. Look at the other guys, too.

It’s a dodge. A ruse. A rhetorical escape hatch.

So it was just like that when the president of the United States spoke about the violence in Charlottesville, Va. Three people are known to have died in the violence. The president’s remarks came before the death toll had risen to that level.

But he did that equivocation thing. He condemned the violence that was provoked by the presence of white nationalists/supremacists in Charlottesville; they were there to protest the taking down of Confederate monuments. All hell broke loose.

Did the president condemn the hate mongers? Oh, not precisely. He watered it down by saying “many sides” are to be condemned.

Many sides? Are you bleeping kidding me?

Compare that with what Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe said. He told the white supremacists to “go home.” They have no place in Virginia. He belittled their claim to be “patriots,” saying they are “anything but” patriots.

An equally strong and unequivocal statement should have come also from Donald J. Trump. It didn’t. The president has failed yet another leadership test.