Now he’s openly defending Nazis

Trump gave a half-hearted denunciation of racist, swastika-wearing, Nazi-saluting white supremacists on Monday, days after one of them murdered an anti-racist protester in Charlottesville.  And if you think “half-hearted” is unfair, look at what he said today.

In a long, combative exchange with reporters at Trump Tower, the president repeatedly rejected a torrent of bipartisan criticism for waiting several days before naming the right-wing groups and placing blame on “many sides” for the violence that ended with the death of a young woman after a car crashed into a crowd.

Mr. Trump repeated that assertion on Tuesday, criticizing “alt-left” groups that he claimed were “very, very violent” when they sought to confront the nationalist and Nazi groups that had gathered in Charlottesville, Virginia to protest the removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee from a park. He said there is “blame on both sides.”

Sounding very much like a right-wing Twitter feed, the president added, “Many of those people were there to protest the taking down of the statue of Robert E. Lee. This week, it is Robert E. Lee and this week, Stonewall Jackson. Is it George Washington next? You have to ask yourself, where does it stop?”

Trump went on to defend the tiki-torch-wielding racists who gathered on Friday night, before saying, in reference to the racist activists, “Not all of those people were neo-Nazis, believe me. Not all of those people were white supremacists by any stretch.” …

He actually argued that there were “very fine people on both sides” and that he believes “there’s blame on both sides.”

If that sounds like a message white supremacists will be thrilled to hear, we don’t need to speculate: David Duke has already thanked Trump for this afternoon’s comments.

Where does it stop, indeed?

Donald Trump will not condemn the terrorist attacks on anti-Nazi protestors

No surprise there.

Donald Trump has canceled all press events today. Yesterday, he ran from reporters who asked him to call terrorism “terrorism.” Donald Trump, the “alpha” whose campaign dared Democrats to condemn “radical Islamic terrorism,” who finds it easy to condemn department stores and TV networks and Hollywood actresses in intemperate language, that man cannot find it in himself to risk the ire of his base by calling white supremacist terror “white supremacist terror.”

Donald Trump’s cowardice has made the Republican Party into the murderers’ party, the lynchers’ party, the party that stands idly by while their supporters murder anti-racists. The party that is, just maybe, a little happy to see it happen.

Racists rally in Charlottesville VA

Racists with torches giving Nazi salute
We’re not making up this fascism stuff.

The largest hate gathering in decades is going on now in Virginia.  White supremacists of all stripes, including the KKK and Nazis, are marching openly and proudly, chanting racist slogans like “White lives matter” and “Jews will not replace us.”  One counter-demonstrator has been murdered and nineteen injured by a man who deliberately drove his car into a crowd.

The President of the United States has condemned…both sides.  He is not in the habit of condemning violence, of course, inciting it is more his style.  Now that the logical consequences are here, he suddenly doesn’t want the credit.

Trump openly incites violence against reporters

Today the President of the United States posted a video on Twitter, a modified version of an old pro wrestling show, in which Trump pretends to knock someone down and punch him repeatedly.  The video has the CNN logo in place of the guy’s face.  Watch the video here.

CNN responded in a statement:

It is a sad day when the President of the United States encourages violence against reporters. Clearly, Sarah Huckabee Sanders lied when she said the President had never done so. Instead of preparing for his overseas trip, his first meeting with Vladimir Putin, ‎dealing with North Korea and working on his health care bill, he is involved in juvenile behavior far below the dignity of his office. We will keep doing our jobs. He should start doing his.
When some reporter gets killed doing her job, is Donald Trump going to take responsibility?  Will Republicans be calling for civility then, or just say she had it coming?

The coming crackdown

Read the entire essay by Masha Gessen, “The Reichstag Fire Next Time“.

The war that began in 2001 is unlike other wars: The enemy is not a nation or an army but a tactic, one that has existed for millennia. This war cannot be won, because a tactic cannot be eradicated. A war that cannot be won cannot end, and so it has not. Nor have the liberties surrendered by Americans in response to 9/11 been restored. Under President Obama, the war on terror morphed into the more grammatically sensible war on terrorism. The Patriot Act became the Freedom Act. The use of torture appears to have been largely discontinued, but the camp at Guantánamo Bay continues its shameful existence—with a reduced number of inmates, though numbers are never a good measure of liberty. Millions of Americans who voted in the last election have lived with the war on terror for as long as they can remember.

In his farewell address in Chicago, Obama could claim only that he had “worked to put the fight against terrorism on a firmer legal footing. That’s why we’ve ended torture, worked to close Gitmo, reformed our laws governing surveillance to protect privacy and civil liberties. That’s why I reject discrimination against Muslim Americans,” he said, interrupted by cheers before continuing, “who are just as patriotic as we are.” Over the course of more than fifteen years, the essential premise—that the United States is at war, and that the Other in this war is Muslims—has remained unchanged. Trump claims that Muslim Americans celebrated 9/11, while Obama says that they are just as patriotic as we are; that they are not us is one of the few things the two men agree on.

Death threats against Texas theater company

In New York, Public Theater’s Shakespeare in the Park put on a production of Julius Caesar.  The character of Caesar was made to resemble Trump, and of course Caesar was assassinated, so Republicans lost their minds.  Unprecendented!  Liberals would never have stood for something like this directed at a liberal President!  Never mind the fact that there was a 2012 production of Julius Caesar that featured a charismatic black guy in the role of Caesar, obviously Barack Obama, with not a peep of actual objection from actual liberals.  There’s no reason for facts to get in the way of the rage.

So why am I surprised that a Texas, repeat Texas, theater troupe has started getting death threats for producing Shakespeare?

Oh, so NOW tone matters.

Now that white supremacist Steve Scalise, the Majority Whip in the House of Representatives, has been shot by a liberal, Republicans think that our politics has gotten too mean.

“It’s now incumbent upon the governing class in Washington to do their best to, if not end the gridlock, then at least end the hellacious, completely critical rhetoric that has just done nothing but divide our nation over the last election cycle,” said [Gillian] Turner, a Fox News contributor and former White House National Security Council member under Presidents Bush and Obama.

Did you hear this from Republicans before a Republican Congressman was shot?  No you did not.  A small sample of what you did hear:

  • Donald Trump encouraged rally attendees to “knock the hell out of” protesters, and promised to pay their legal fees if they did.
  • Ted Nugent said at a concert in 2007, “I told [Obama] to suck on my machine gun. Hey Hillary, you might want to ride one of these into the sunset, you worthless bitch.”  He had dinner with the President at the White House in April.
  • A Republican member of Congress says it’s not appropriate to physically assault a journalist, unless the journalist deserved it.
  • The President of the United States referred to journalists as “enemies of the people“, a phrase used by Stalin among other tyrants.
  • A Republican state legislator called on those who take down Confederate monuments to be lynched.
  • Jeff Sessions, now Attorney General, described undocumented immigrants as “filth.”

To be fair, Ted Nugent at least claims that he’s going to tone it down from now on.  I’ll believe that when I see it.  Call me cynical, but I think their newfound distaste for hatefulness and violence are going to apply only to Democrats, not to fellow Republicans.  If I’m wrong, call me out in the comments on this blog.

Call Senate staffers about the secret health care bill

They want to pass a bill with no debate because they’re doing something indefensible.  Call our Senators’ staffers who are working on the bill, and let them know why the people of Iowa won’t support taking health insurance away from 23 million people, so the rich can get a tax cut.

Joni Ernst’s staffer is Danielle Janowski, 202-224-3254, danielle_janowski@ernst.senate.gov.

Chuck Grassley’s staffer is Karen Summar, 202-224-3744, karen_summar@grassley.senate.gov.

Republican calls for lynching

Removal of Confederate monuments in New Orleans prompted an elected state legislator from Mississippi to write, and I am not making this up,

The destruction of these monuments, erected in the loving memory of our family and fellow Southern Americans, is both heinous and horrific. If the, and I use this term extremely loosely, “leadership” of Louisiana wishes to, in a Nazi-ish fashion, burn books or destroy historical monuments of OUR HISTORY, they should be LYNCHED! Let it be known, I will do all in my power to prevent this from happening in our State.

That’s right.  Openly called for lynching people he disagrees with.  Do you need to ask whether he’s a Republican?

Trump praises mass murder

You read that right.  Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte has been praised on multiple occasions by U.S. President Donald Trump.  Trump specifically likes Duterte’s anti-drug program, which consists of summarily murdering drug suspects, 9,000 people so far.  He called Duterte on the phone to say so.

“I just wanted to congratulate you because I am hearing of the unbelievable job on the drug problem,” said Trump. “Many countries have the problem, we have a problem, but what a great job you are doing and I just wanted to call and tell you that.”  …

White House officials initially characterized the April call as “a very friendly conversation,” during which Trump had invited Duterte to visit Washington. That development reportedly surprised White House staffers and drew widespread condemnation from human rights groups, which have accused Duterte of condoning a lawless drug war that has terrorized the nation with a campaign of extrajudicial killings carried out by vigilantes and police officers. Duterte has seemingly embraced this barbaric depiction, comparing himself with Adolf Hitler on a mission to kill millions of drug addicts.