All decent Americans have an obligation to condemn the violent bigotry of the Nazi and KKK demonstrators in Charlottesville or wherever else they spew their poisonous and threatening rhetoric. But President Donald Trump has a special obligation to single out for condemnation, and distance himself from, individuals and groups that claim — even if falsely — to speak in his name, as the racist provocateurs in Charlottesville did.
David Duke, the notorious bigot, told reporters that white nationalists were working to “fulfil the promises of Donald Trump.” Richard Spencer, the founder of the Daily Stormer (a not so coded homage to the Nazi publication Der Stürmer,) attributed the growth of the ultra-nationalist alt-right to the Trump Presidency: “Obviously the alt-right has come very far in the past two years in terms of public exposure… is Donald Trump one of the major causes of that? Of course.”
Trump initially responded as follows: “We must ALL be united and condemn all that hate stands for. There is no place for this kind of violence in America.” But then, following the car ramming that killed a peaceful protestor, President Trump made the following statement: “We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides — on many sides.”
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