Donald Trump and his administration have finally jumped the shark.
In the wake of his bungled handling of the aftermath of the deadly Charlottesville “Unite the Right” rally in which he called the white supremacists gathered to spread their hate “fine people,” he and his cronies are trying to make up for the president’s lack of discipline and his racist leanings.
On Friday, he fired Steve Bannon, the right-wing white nationalist who served as his chief strategist. But guess what? Firing one person doesn’t cleanse the administration of the white supremacists who still set policy in the West Wing. The real change happens when leaders take action that condemns hate and reflect the values the majority of Americans treasure.
And Trump has shown us he is no leader.
Trump has failed his moral duty as president by siding with one group of people —white supremacists— who seek to harm another group of Americans: black and brown families. He has criminalized our communities and pushed to spend more than $6 billion to build a deportation force when he should be investing in education and healthcare.
How he treats DREAMers, young people he promised to treat with “heart” will be a litmus test for Trump. Is he really the racist so many worry about or will his moral compass show him the way?
Americans are losing patience. The resistance to Trump and his racist right-wing is growing. So far, Trump has shown us he has sympathies with white supremacists whose violence left Heather Heyer dead and many more injured. He made the false equivalence of comparing the Ku Klux Klan and neo-Nazi groups to counter-protesters gathered to speak out against hate, racism and bigotry. Trump claimed that the violence in the Charlottesville rally came from “many sides” and that some of the white supremacists were “very fine people.”
Let that sink in.
Never mind that the rest of America (and the world) saw images of these same people in angry mobs of Nazis chanting “blood and soil” and “Jews will not replace us.” After initially seeming to back pedal from those statements, Trump doubled down on his defense of white supremacists in a press conference at Trump Tower and later tripled down via Twitter, saying that he was “sad to see” the taking down of “beautiful” confederate statues across the country.
White supremacist leaders have expressed their satisfaction with Trump’s remarks in the wake of Charlottesville, believing that he is firmly on their side.
Former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard David Duke praised Trump, thanking him for his “honesty and courage.” Alt-right activist Richard Spencer said that Trump is “defending the truth” and said that whatever anti-racist comments Trump made were clearly “not serious.” The neo-Nazi website the Daily Stormer claimed that Trump clearly sides with their views and that “he loves us all.”
Trump’s sympathetic comments to white supremacists should be no surprise to those familiar with his history. An article in The Intercept that tracked his history of racism and bigotry found he denied housing to black tenants, ordered black employees off the floor of his Atlantic City casinos, launched a witch-hunt against black and Latino teenagers falsely accused of raping a jogger in Central Park, described undocumented Mexican immigrants as criminals and rapists, attempted to discredit a judge because of his Hispanic heritage, declined to discredit the Ku Klux Klan, kept a book of Hitler’s speeches by his bed-side and led the birther movement against our first black president.
It is clear that Trump has never been fit to lead this country. Yet he will continue to divide and inflame the American public because that is his sole modus operandi. A few days after the Charlottesville violence and his botched reaction to that tragedy, Trump reacted to a terrorist attack in Barcelona by pedaling a debunked story of a World War I general who was said to use bullets dipped in pig’s blood to execute Muslim prisoners of war to dissuade them further fighting.
Trump has proven himself to be increasingly unhinged. His behavior is getting worse. His appeasement of neo-Nazi and white supremacist groups is intolerable. He should resign and if does not, Congress needs to take the steps necessary to remove him from office. White supremacy is not an issue with “many sides” as Trump claims. There is the right side and the wrong side.
Trump has clearly stated where he stands.
Thomas Kennedy is a writing fellow for the Center for Community Change Action. He tweets from @Tomaskenn.
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