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The United States–and the whole world for that matter–is still reeling from the events in Charlottesville, Virginia on the weekend when alt-right protesters (consisting of KKK members, neo-Nazis and white supremacists) and anti-racism counter-protesters clashed in a violent altercation that killed three people. One of those deaths was counter-protester, Heather Heyer who was struck down by a car driven into the crowd by an alt-right protester–an act of domestic terrorism.

During a tragedy such as this, it is the job of the president to address the nation with comforting words, condemn the racism and demonstrate how we can all rise above it. Donald Trump didn’t do that. In his first statement, he neglected–some believe intentionally–to use the terms ‘Nazis,’ ‘white supremacy,’ ‘KKK’ or ‘terrorism.’ Instead he spoke against bigotry and said there were ‘many sides’ to blame for the violence in Charlottesville. After two days of criticism from the media and even his own Republican party, Trump took the mic again to read–his eyes didn’t leave the teleprompter–a statement condemning the alt-right hate groups by name. It might have been too little too late, but at least we didn’t think it could get any worse. We were wrong.

In an unbelievable press conference yesterday evening, Donald Trump once again addressed the violence in Charlottesville. This time, he effectively defended the hate groups he had condemned the day before, equated them to those opposing them and validated the white supremacist argument for keeping Confederate memorials. So much happened, it’s best we break it down point by terrifying point.

‘Both sides’


Trump talked about both sides as being equal in both blame and merit. He said that the violence was started from both sides and that they also both had ‘very fine people.’ By equating the two groups present on Saturday, he paints hate-based extremist groups and those that oppose them with the same brush. We aren’t just talking about two groups of people who don’t like each other here. We are talking about a clear right and wrong. One group feels they are superior to all other groups of people and the other consists of those fighting for equality and tolerance. Those two motivations cannot be equated.

‘Alt-left’

First of all, the ‘alt-left’ is not the opposite of the alt-right. The alternative right is an extremist group that fights for white supremacist, neo-Nazi values. The opposition to that is anti-racist groups and those who fight for tolerance and equality. The alt-left is a completely made up phrase that Donald Trump just used to describe people who aren’t Nazis or the KKK.

He also took the opportunity to call out the ‘alt-left’ for ‘charging’ at the white supremacist protesters which sounds an awful lot like defending them. He pointed out that the white supremacists had a permit, while the counter protesters did not.

In defense of confederate memorials


Confederate memorials have been the subject of debate in the United States for a while now for what they represent. Memorials are being taken down because they are the symbols of racism and bigotry in the American South during the Civil War. There are groups–like the protesters in Virginia–that don’t want to see the memorials taken down because they are symbols of history and Southern heritage. The problem is that they represent a history of racism, intolerance and slavery that most Americans–minorities in particular–would like to see removed, not celebrated. Donald Trump came to the defense of the protesters who don’t want to see Confederate memorials taken down, ultimately sounding like he was siding with the white supremacists. He suggests that taking down the memorials is ‘changing history’ and ‘changing culture.’ History doesn’t change when you take down a statue. Removing a racist monument is about acknowledging that the values it represents no longer represent those of the country.

A telling approval

The best way to tell how a presidential speech went is by who approved of it. While people came out in the thousands online and in the media to denounce what the president said, he had one notable supporter: David Duke, former Klu Klux Klan leader.

Reaction

Thankfully, we are seeing huge reactions of disgust from all along the political spectrum. People sickened, scared, saddened and angered by a president who won’t clearly say without a teleprompter or addendums that Nazis and white supremacists are bad.

republican reaction

People are looking to Republicans to stop saying that Trump’s actions ‘disgust’ or ‘disappoint’ them, and actually do something about it. He’s had enough time to figure out how to be president (or just a decent human being), people are ready to see Republicans take the actions to stop him from doing more harm to a deeply divided nation.

To give you a little hope for humanity, here’s a deeply disappointed Jake Tapper telling you there still isn’t a debate about if Nazis and the KKK are okay:

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