Highly-respected political adviser David Gergen has worked for four presidents, from Nixon to Clinton. Even though Gergen is a lifelong Republican and I’m a lifelong Democrat, I always listen carefully to what he says. Following the Charlottesville tragedy, Gergen said, “Trump cannot address the hatred in the country, until he addresses the hate in his own heart.”
Unfortunately, the Trumps have a nightmarish record on race. In 1927, Trump’s father, Fred, was arrested at a KKK rally. In 1973, Fred and Donald were sued by the Justice Department for race bias in housing rentals. (Blacks were told at Trump buildings there were no apartments available, while whites were offered units.)
In 1989, there was the infamous “Central Park 5” case. A female jogger was brutally beaten and raped resulting in the arrest of four African American and one Hispanic youths. Almost immediately, Trump took out newspaper ads calling for the death penalty. (So much for his “I always like to get the facts before expressing an opinion.”)
While DNA evidence proved the group’s innocence and the real rapist actually confessed, Trump never apologized. “I’m not big on apologies.” he’s often said. Then again, when questioned if he ever asks God’s forgiveness, Trump has also said, “Why should I when I don’t make mistakes?” In 2014, NYC paid the men, wrongfully incarcerated between six and thirteen years, $40,000,000.
As for Trump’s original Charlottesville statement, the Washington Post headline read, “Trump Babbles in Face of Tragedy.” Senator Orin Hatch tweeted, “My brother didn’t die fighting Hitler so Nazis could go unchallenged in the U.S.” Michael Gerson, former George W. Bush speechwriter, labeled Trump’s speech, “Trite, infantile and meaningless.”
Trump’s avoiding naming the KKK, neo-Nazis and white supremacists, however, was intentional. And white supremacists who used to hide under rocks, or sheets, are emboldened by the president and out in the open.
Not surprisingly, Trump has received world-wide rebukes, including from Germany. However, Trump got a grateful “thank you” tweet from aging former KKK Grand Wizard, David Duke. (Whom late-night TV host, Stephen Colbert says “looks like a Grand Lizard.”)
Historic, in a Republican administration, CEO’s on Trump’s “Business Advisory Councils” resigned in protest. Trump tweeted angrily, “For every CEO I have many others waiting.” (Translation: He had none!)
Like a schoolyard bully taking his ball home, Trump disbanded the councils. From inside the White House the joke is, Trump’s three Generals, Mattis, McMaster and Kelly are the “Axis of Adults.”
No one who followed Trump’s campaign should be surprised by his overtures to racists.. At rallies Trump frequently longed for the good old days “when protesters were carried out on stretchers.”
Trump has an admitted fondness for violence. (And war!) Remember his infamous “I could shoot someone on 5th Avenue?” As a consequence, Trump rallies felt like a rope short of a lynch mob as candidate Trump encouraged his rabid followers to attack protesters, even promising, “I’ll pay your legal fees.” (Google “Racism in the 60’s versus racism at Trump rallies” and the video will leave you shocked.
On the campaign, Trump blatantly lied to court favor with white supremacists. When interviewed by CNN’s Jake Tapper, Trump said with an orange face, “I don’t know anything about David Duke.” But there’s video from 2000 in which he calls Duke “a racist and bigot.”
In that same interview, Trump feigned ignorance about white supremacists, telling Tapper, “Send me a list and I’ll tell you what I think.” Doesn’t “white supremacist” say it all? Apparently not.
Trump’s incredibly weak “many sides” Saturday statement was a disaster. So much so, on Monday, albeit grudgingly, he read like a robot from a script in which he criticized the KKK, neo-Nazis and white supremacists by name. Actor Bryan Cranston commented, “The event had the appearance of a hostage video.” (When did it become difficult to criticize Nazis? Adolph would be delighted.)
On Tuesday, at a Trump Tower event to promote infrastructure, an unhinged Trump went off script and proved his Monday statement was fake. Horrified, Chief of Staff General Kelly looked glumly down at the ground, as the “real” Trump attacked reporters and returned to his “both sides are to blame.” Afterwards and completely inappropriately, Trump bragged that in Charlottesville he owned “one of the largest wineries in the U.S.” (Fact-check: it isn’t close to one of the largest.)
On Wednesday, there was an overflowing and emotional church memorial for 32-old Heather Heyer. Her amazing mother who refers to hate back, remembered her daughter as intelligent, caring and brave. Donald Trump, seemingly none of those, has “no regrets” for any of his Charlottetsville comments.
Senator Lindsey Graham observed that Trump’s remarks, “are dividing Americans instead of healing them.” The ever-wise Gergen opined, “Trump’s massive insecurities make him a danger to the country.” The nightmare continues.
Please Google “Vice News Charlottesville Documentary.” Jack is at facebook.com/jackneworth, twitter.com/jackneworth and firstname.lastname@example.org