At a ceremony to sign the Veterans Affairs Choice and Quality Employment Act of 2017 on Saturday afternoon, President Donald Trump took a few moments to comment on the terrible events that had occurred earlier in Charlottesville, Virginia.
It did not start off well:
"We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides. On many sides.
There are not “many sides.” There is the side of the assorted neo-Nazis, KKK members, white supremacists and gun-toting militia that invaded Charlottesville, and there is the rest of civilization. Exactly how do you see both sides in video of a car mowing down anti-racism protesters?
Even the reliably right-wing voice of RedState said it “cannot be mistaken for anything but a deliberate attack as a car rams into a group of anti-racism protesters.”
If it's a terrorist attack when a Muslim drives a truck into a crowd in France, what is it when an apparently white man does the same thing with a car in Virginia, killing one person and injuring 19 as of this writing?
“It's been going on for a long time in our country. Not Donald Trump, not Barack Obama. This has been going on for a long, long time.”
Leave Barack Obama out of this.
What followed was some generic pablum about the need for America to “come together,” and how no one should ever feel afraid for their safety in the country, and children should feel safe going out to have a good time.
All of which might come as a surprise to the minorities that have been terrified since Trump's election by the revived white supremacy he enabled and encouraged through his words for the entirety of his campaign, and that allowed these people in Charlottesville to feel safe marching through its streets throwing Nazi salutes.
Then, he went into a spiel about how great the economy is doing, as if all this racism stuff is just an unfortunate distraction from his great accomplishments, and something that we can all enjoy if we just quickly set aside the pernicious divides between the races that have existed since, oh, the first settlers brought the first slaves ashore at Jamestown.
Finally, mercifully, he ended with this bit:
“We have to heal the wounds of our country. These are wounds that have been going on for really a long time, and I thought and everybody thought and everybody wants it to heal. And it will heal, and we're going to make every effort possible to make sure that healing procedure goes as quickly as possible.”
Four hundred years of racism cleared up just like that, no muss, no fuss. Sure thing.
Trump cannot even clear a bar so low it has been buried at the earth's core. He is beyond inadequate for this moment.
Please note: This is a commentary piece. The views and opinions expressed within it are those of the author only and do not necessarily reflect the editorial opinion of IJR.