We need to stop acting like Trump isn’t pandering to white supremacists

When President Donald Trump is upset with you, he will let you know. This has been a hard rule about Trump — to the point it’s hard to believe any feud is too petty or too far for him. From Rosie O’Donnell to the family of a dead US military veteran, Trump has been ready to condemn just about everyone who gets in his way.

A couple weeks into his presidency, Trump even bashed the US retailer Nordstrom on Twitter: “My daughter Ivanka has been treated so unfairly by @Nordstrom. She is a great person — always pushing me to do the right thing! Terrible!” There, he used the power of the White House to attempt to throw a job-creating US company under the bus just because it had let go of his daughter’s clothing line.

But when it comes to white supremacists, Trump’s statements are uncharacteristically tepid.

After white nationalists, neo-Nazis, and members of the Ku Klux Klan descended onto Charlottesville, Virginia, this weekend and caused chaos and violence in the small city (leading to at least three deaths), Trump gave a strangely vague response that didn’t blame anyone in particular: “We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry, and violence on many sides, on many sides.”

Asked to clarify the statement, a White House official doubled down: “The President was condemning hatred, bigotry and violence from all sources and all sides. There was violence between protesters and counter protesters today.” It was only after a day of criticism that the White House — but, crucially, not Trump himself — clarified that when he condemned violence and bigotry on “many sides,” “of course that includes white supremacists, KKK, neo-Nazis and all extremist groups.”

These are groups who literally want to violently rid the country of entire races and ethnic groups (some by genocide, some by forced eviction), and showed up to a small Virginia city to start trouble because it was getting rid of its…

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