As you know, this weekend in Virginia the worst people in the United States went to the hardware store, bought Tiki torches, lit them up, and marched. In Charlottesville, a non-violent protester was killed by a white supremacist. And so the president — who is the president, by the way — went on television to say this: “We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry, and violence — on many sides. On many sides.” He started strong and then he had to throw in “on many sides.” “Well, let’s not lay all the blame on the Nazis and the Klan, there were people who marched against them, you know.” And then for two days he had no further comment — the one thing he decides to be quiet about is this.
Of course, everybody went nuts, because there weren’t many sides. Protesters were shouting Nazi slogans, they were carrying Nazi flags, one of them killed a young woman and injured dozens of other people with his car — there were two sides, not many sides. And one of those sides had Nazis on it. All he had to do was condemn the Nazis. It shouldn’t have been a difficult thing. It’s not exactly a controversial stance. It’s not like we asked him to come out against puppies or something. They’re Nazis and Klan members and people who put pineapple on pizza — they’re terrible people.
And it isn’t as though he doesn’t like to speak out. You know, when Donald Trump is upset, when there’s something serious happening, he doesn’t keep it bottled up — he lets us know: “Now they’re making Ghostbusters with only women? What’s going on?!” Good question, what is going on? So the reaction to this was enormous, Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, called this rally evil and disgusting. And you understand what that means, that means Germany is taking a stronger stance against Nazis than we are. And they invented them.
So then, after much prayer and reflection, the president decided to take the difficult step of condemning Nazis and the Klan, which was big for him, because this is the sort of thing that could alienate his base. Even he knew he had to say something, and so after a few minutes of bragging about the economy, he did.
“Racism is evil, and those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs, including the KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and other hate groups that are repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans.”
What a difference a teleprompter makes, you know? It’s night and day. He sounds like a kid whose parents made him apologize for egging their neighbor’s house. It’s unbelievable. If there’s any silver lining to this — and there isn’t, by the way —
it’s that whatever summer vacation he was hoping to have is now ruined. It has been a terrible vacation.