Just three days after anti-racism protester Heather Heyer was killed by a white supremacists, Black youth Deandre Harris brutally beat by neo-Nazis dressed like riot police and countless others injured, assaulted or targeted in the Charlottesville, Va. white nationalists riots, Donald Trump found himself forcefully defending racism when he resurrected his “many sides” claim.
In a bizarre press conference meant to discuss infrastructure — his first at New York City’s Trump Tower since inauguration — the president wholly erased any claim that he condemns white supremacy when he, in a rageful fit, defended the racists who took over Charlottesville with tiki torches, saying he was waiting on the “facts” before speaking out against the White nationalists.
In his unhinged conference, Trump also appeared to defend the confederacy, asking reporters if the statues of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson — both notorious slave owners and rapists — should be taken down. He also defended the right for White supremacists to march against the removal of confederacy statues, arguing that it would change the culture and history of America.
And harnessing his own dog whistle politics, Trump adopted a term often used by the White nationalist groups to demonize those fighting for equality (i.e.. Black Lives Matter) — “alt-left.”
Not surprisingly, his speech garnered praise from racists, including Ku Klux Klan member David Duke, who thanked the president for his honesty and courage in “condemning the leftists terrorists.”
Here are six statements made by the president that no doubt support and embolden his base of white supremacists.
“This week it’s Robert E. Lee, and this week, Stonewall Jackson. Is it George Washington next? You have to ask yourself, where does it stop? Are we going to take down statues to George Washington? How about Thomas Jefferson? What do you think of Thomas Jefferson? You like him. Good. Are we going to take down his statue? He was a major slave owner. You are changing history and culture.”