Following the Trump Charlottesville statement, many on both the left and right thought there was much left to be desired and I understand why. It isn’t asking much of the leader of the free world to directly condemn nazism and white supremacy…at all. That’s the bar on the literal floor. When compared to the statements that other GOP senators and leadership have given, Trump’s seems less than presidential in terms of his willingness to forthrightly call evil by its name. It looks especially bad when Trump’s general temperament is considered. He’s not one to mince words or be vague. So why the broad language? It’s also hypocritical of him to consistently condemn Obama for refusing to say “radical Islam” if he can’t utter “white supremacist.” And before some pseudo intellectual brings up Obama failing to condemn Black Lives Matter after Dallas, two wrongs don’t make a right, and one failure doesn’t justify another.
It doesn’t help that alt right figures have celebrated his statement and taken it as a sign of solidarity with their movement. But to be fair, the white nationalists that insist Trump’s on their side are being willfully delusional. They’re in the denial stage. They’d like to believe that Trump is on their side because it gives them hope, and makes them feel less like the rejects and discards they actually are. But everything Trump said directly opposed everything they believe. They don’t believe we’re all Americans. They don’t love all of the people of this country. They don’t believe in making America great again for all people, they believe in making America great again for white people and white people alone. They don’t want the hate and division in this country to stop; they thrive off of hatred and their end goal is division. They’re like neurotic college freshmen trying to convince their friends that the senior they slept with is actually interested in them. Sorry, white nationalists, but Trump’s just not that into you.
I understand the criticism that Trump is receiving, and much of it is honestly well deserved. From Trump’s perspective, I understand how the disavow game seems like a losing one. He disavowed David Duke multiple times throughout his campaign, and is still being held accountable for what that cretin says. It’s never enough to a media that’s lost all sight of their job descriptions and was hell bent on destroying his presidency before it even started. When it comes to Trump, CNN and the New York Times will never be happy. No matter what he says, he’ll say too little. Or too much. Or he’ll wait too long. Or not long enough.
In Scaramucci’s first interview after his short time in the White House, he very eloquently and clearly explained why it was a mistake for the Trump Charlottesville statement to be so noncommittal, and what he would have done differently as White House Communications Director. The interview was great, but it made me sad knowing what an intelligent, well-spoken comms director the administration missed out on. He did an excellent job of standing his ground, defending both himself and the president, and making his points. I think he would have handled situations like this extremely well, and that unlike others would be able to not only withstand the pressure of the position but thrive under it.
I think Trump has great potential as a leader. I believe he can and will do wonders for this country. I 100% encourage him antagonizing and calling out Democratic activists and operatives posing as journalists. But if he wants to succeed he can’t let his strained relationship with the press interfere with his responsibilities as commander in chief. Now more than ever we need someone willing to say what needs to be said and do what needs to be done.