Well, that didn’t last long (see my earlier post, Silence from the Bully Pulpit), did it? If only our Chaos President had just played golf and not made it a working vacation. While away from the White House, not only did Trump fail to give us all a break from his incessant tweeting, he managed to push us to the brink of nuclear war with a threat of “fire and fury.” He further divided the nation after the Charlottesville murder by drawing a false equivalence between KKK/Neo-Nazis and anti-bigotry protestors, adding that there was blame- as well as “very fine people”- on both sides (being careful to point out, however, than only one side, the white supremacists, had a permit). Then he reversed himself – not once, but twice, giving everyone a severe case of political whiplash- finally resorting to defending Confederate symbols as “beautiful statues and monuments,” treasures of culture and history on a level with statues of Washington and Jefferson. Off Twitter, Trump gave a combative press conference in which he doubled-down on overt signals (I have a feeling we’re not using dog-whistles anymore, Toto) of support and solidarity to white supremacists. On Twitter he blasted CEOs for abandoning his business councils. And now he has decided to grind up and extrude Chief Strategist Stephen Bannon from his inner circle- along with Scaramucci, Priebus, Spicer, Walsh and Flynn, just another product of the White House Sausage Factory.
What continues to roil the public (now that the prospect of being nuked by North Korea seems to be receding) is Trump’s reaction to the violence in Charlottesville, which started with the plan to remove a statue of Robert E. Lee. As the greatest general of the Confederacy- which sought to destroy the United States, at least partly in order to preserve slavery- Lee was a piece of history and culture that should be memorialized in the form of a “beautiful statue,” wasn’t he? What if, after World War II, Germany had erected statues of Hitler, Himmler, and Eichmann? Oh, that’s different, they weren’t the greatest generals of the Third Reich? How about a statue of Rommel, then: riding a tank on Unter den Linden Strasse?
Very funny cartoon from Tom Toles in the Washington Post today: Trump pointing at a map of Europe 1944; a large swastika over Germany, and bold black arrows indicating the Allies closing in from all sides. Trump says, “Sure, you had some Nazis on one side, but you had a group on the other side that came charging in, without a permit, and they were very, very violent.”
Trump’s Attorney General Sessions and many others have called the murder (a car slammed into a crowd by a Neo-Nazi) in Charlottesville an act of terrorism. After the terrible tragedy yesterday in Barcelona (another motor vehicle driven into a crowd), for which ISIS claimed responsibility, Trump tweeted his opposition to terrorism. But I was just waiting for him to point out that, in all fairness, there was plenty of blame to spread around… I know, that would be ridiculous- but given the President’s distorted interpretations and chaotic maneuverings of the past week, nothing lies beyond the imagination!
Completely as an aside: I wonder what’s taking so long with Robert Mueller’s investigation?