Not every Donald Trump supporter is a racist; they don’t all think white supremacists and neo-Nazis and KKK members are united with “fine people” just trying to preserve our “beautiful statues and monuments.”
The President was not incorrect when he said, “You had a group on one side that was bad (at Charlottesville, Va.). You had a group on the other side that was also very violent.” Now many Americans are learning about Antifa activists — the Alt-Left, if you will.
Antifa — short for anti-fascists — are willing to push back, to bully college administrators into canceling right-wing speakers; to beat up reporters who document their public actions without “permission,” and to incite violence against those who speak out for racism.
But, by equating these groups, Trump’s comments come through as taking sides with the Alt-Right. Former KKK leader David Duke certainly took it that way when he tweeted, “Thank you President Trump for your honesty & courage to tell the truth about #Charlottesville.”
The President had some inspiring words:
“Racism is evil, and those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs, including the KKK, neo-Nazis and white supremacists and other hate groups that are repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans.” “We must remember this truth: No matter our color, creed, religion or political party, we are ALL AMERICANS FIRST.” and “The hate and the division must stop, and must stop right now. We have to come together as Americans with love for our nation and true affection for each other.”
Unfortunately, he virtually negated those words when he said there were “very fine people on both sides” in the Charlottesville violence.
A reporter who was there, Paula Reid with CBS News, said the “two sides” included people who were ready to fight, but she saw most of the white supremacists had weapons or helmets or shields. Some of the Antifa did as well, but other counter-protesters were students and members of the clergy who are not anarchists and who were not prepared for violence. These were also the people she saw trying to render medical assistance to the injured.
We can thank Republican and Democratic leaders for speaking out. Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., tweeted, “Mr. President – we must call evil by its name. These were white supremacists and this was domestic terrorism.”
Former Vice President Joe Biden tweeted, “There is only one side. #charlottesville.”
And Hillary Clinton said, ”Now is the time for leaders to be strong in their words & deliberate in their actions. We will not step backward. If this is not who we are as Americans, let’s prove it.”