In search of Donald Trump’s personal denunciation of white supremacy

Flowers are left outside the Charlottesville, Va., General District Court before a scheduled appearance via video link for James Alex Fields Jr. Fields has been charged with second degree murder, malicious wounding, and failure to stop in an accident resulting in death following an incident where a vehicle plowed into a crowd of counter protesters during the “Unite the Right” rally on Saturday. Win McNamee/Getty Images

Seventy-two hours after Charlottesville, your cable news focus of the day is likely to be on whether President Donald Trump will personally attach his name to a condemnation of white supremacy.

His Tweet topics so far this morning: An endorsement of U.S. Sen. Luther Strange in Alabama, and a condemnation of “obstructionist” Democrats.

On Saturday, Trump condemned “many sides” for the violence at the University of Virginia that had begun with a torch parade by white nationalists on Friday night. An unnamed White House spokesperson tried to fend off criticism on Sunday with this interpretation, according to the New York Times:

“The president said very strongly in his statement yesterday that he condemns all forms of violence, bigotry and hatred,” the statement said. “Of course that includes white supremacists, K.K.K. neo-Nazi and all extremist groups. He called for national unity and bringing all Americans together.”

Ivanka Trump also seemed to urge her father in that direction.

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Nonetheless, Trump’s re-election campaign thought the timing was right on Sunday to unveil a new TV spot. “The president’s enemies don’t want him to succeed,” is the money line.

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The maker of a brand of backyard torches denounced the use of its products by those white supremacists in Charlottesville, according to The Hill newspaper.

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And an American tourist in Germany was beaten up Saturday by a passer-by after he began giving the Nazi salute outside a cafe in Dresden, according to the Washington Post. The tourist was identified as a 41-year-old American man who was “severely drunk.”

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Meanwhile, a number of conservatives sought to put some distance between themselves and President Trump over Charlottesville. Erick Erickson, of WSB Radio fame, had an op-ed in the New York Times that included these lines:

Racial superiority is a repugnant idea and President Trump should condemn it by name. We should also note honestly that President Trump employs individuals who emboldened this movement. The president winked at and made kissy face with the alt-right as his advisers persuaded him it would be good politically. It is no coincidence that many of the men who marched in Charlottesville wore “Make America Great Again” hats. This president and his advisers made a nefarious evil feel comfortable coming out of the shadows.

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On that same note, state Sen. Michael Williams, R-Cumming, who is running for governor on a pro-Trump platform, veered sharply from the president’s line that “many sides” were to blame for the deadly violence that rocked the Virginia city:

“I strongly condemn the actions of Vanguard America; their message of white supremacy, and their use of bigotry and hatred to divide our citizens. My condemnation is not limited to Vanguard, but also hateful racists such as Richard [Spencer] and his followers.”

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As Charlottesville was unfolding on Saturday, state Rep. Stacey Evans of Smyrna, one of two Democratic women running for governor, was shouted down at a national NetRoots Nation convention in Atlanta by protestors shouting “support black women.”

Evans is white. Her rival, state Rep. Stacey Abrams of Atlanta, is black. Click here to read the speech she intended to deliver.

Don’t kid yourself. This is serious business for a Georgia Democratic party looking to make a come-back.

Melita Easters, leader of Georgia’s WIN List, which supports the political campaigns of Democratic women, pointed to an Oct. 2 forum featuring the two candidates:

“Our event will offer a respectful platform where both women will have equal time to share their progressive vision for Georgia and be heard. At a time when divisive rhetoric dominates headlines, Republicans would like nothing more than to see a contest between two women divide Georgia progressives.”

One of Abram’s strongest supporters, state Sen. Nan Orrock of Atlanta, defended her candidate’s refusal to condemn the shouting down of a rival. From Orrock’s Facebook page:

“When protesters interrupted Bernie Sanders during the 2015 election, Hillary Clinton was not asked to answer for them, and was not accused of organizing or paying them. So why is Stacey Abrams expected to disavow a protest she did not organize? Whether you disagree with their actions or not, please understand that protestors make their own decisions to exercise the right to independently organize and act, particularly at a progressive conference for activists…Evans should expect to be challenged on her record as long as she stays in this race, but don’t blame that on her opponent.

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North Georgia Republicans had an early say at their picks for the state’s top offices at a straw poll in Rome, and three candidates came out on top in the Floyd County GOP straw poll: Hunter Hill for governor; David Shafer for lieutenant governor; and Josh McKoon for secretary of state.

Hill also was the top vote-getter the same day in the Georgia Republican Assembly’s annual meeting in Moreland, Ga., though he fell short of the threshold needed for endorsement.

Shafer, McKoon and Insurance Commissioner candidate Jim Beck all got the two-thirds votes needed for the endorsement.

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The weekend turmoil has nearly overshadowed a first in-person town hall meeting hosted by U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson at 6 p.m. this evening at Kennesaw State University. Background can be found here. The senator will be on GPB’s “Political Rewind” (88.5FM in Atlanta) at 2 p.m.

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Isakson has been careful not to criticize Trump, offering carefully-worded support mainly from afar and otherwise staying out of the president’s way. On Friday, he made an exception. Via Twitter, the three-term U.S. senator came down firmly on the side of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, the Kentucky Republican who has recently drawn Trump’s Twitter ire:

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Speaking of Mitch McConnell’s Senate, it looks like it’ll have to fill another Georgia vacancy. Our AJC colleague Bill Rankin reports that one of the state’s members of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals is planning to enter a state of semi-retirement, which gives Trump an opportunity to shape the powerful federal court, which has jurisdiction over Georgia, Florida and Alabama.

Reader Comments 0

132 comments
Steve Britt
Steve Britt

List of hate groups that can go f/ck themselves.= KKK, Aryan Nation, ISIS, CAIR, BLM, Antifa, Black Panthers, and the Democrat party. All are hate baiting, race baiting, lying, fascist pieces of sh@t and I denounce them all.

Shane Norris
Shane Norris

It's a set up. The leader of the nazis was part of Occupy. You don't go from far left to far right. I could see center, but not far right. It's too much of a stretch to be reasonable.

Mark Bowen
Mark Bowen

Which part of the " many sides" isn't clear? He could cure cancer and you would just say he caused it.

Melody Dareing
Melody Dareing

He did denounce it, but let's admit "many sides" contributed. Antifa and BLM threw the first punches, if you watch the video. It escalated from there.

Roger Smith
Roger Smith

About 300 million Americans can't see that the media and politicians are playing them like a fiddle

Shelley Lange Rahiya
Shelley Lange Rahiya

Yeah, I don't buy it. He spoke out against white supremacy today. He gave a speech calling them "repugnant" and referred to them by name - the KKK, the neo-nazis, white supremacists. Good news, but when I break it down I'm not inclined to believe it was heartfelt. Why? Well, how much time do you have? -- It was two days late. -- It was delivered with "all the enthusiasm of a hostage video" (this quote from Walter Schaub, Trump's own former ethics chief). -- It was tele-prompted, which means someone else wrote it for him. -- It came only after enormous pressure from other Republicans. -- It *still* hedged, if you listened to it carefully. "As I said Saturday..." and "As I've said before." Except he's never made an absolute black-and-white denouncement like this before. Never. Which comes off like a weak dog whistle buried in the noise: "Don't worry, guys, they're twisting my arm but I've still got your back." -- It still didn't directly repudiate their support of HIM or their use of HIS NAME. -- He didn't tweet it. He's made 4 tweets today, none of them repudiating white supremacy, and every single human being knows that when he really means something, he tweets it. -- It was sandwiched in between two other appalling actions: a tweeted insult against Ken Frazier (the black man who quit the president's advisory council over the speech on Saturday), and a threat to pardon Joe Arpaio (the Arizona sheriff who defied a court order instructing him to stop racially profiling people for potential deportation). He needs to demonstrate that he means what he said. He needs to back it up with action, and pardoning Joe Arpaio is the exact opposite. He can start by firing Steve Bannon and Sebastian Gorka.

Dawn Strykr
Dawn Strykr

Eight families own America via the deceitfully titled Federal Reserve banking cartel. Their six propaganda machines we call "Mainstream media" are pushing this divisional agenda. These are the SAME people who have destabilized and caused civil wars in other nations and oh, by the way, they DO NOT like Trump because his family is not one of those eight.

Dawn Strykr
Dawn Strykr

And the ACJ is owned by Anne Cox Chambers a MAJOR SUPPORTER OF the democratic party - Obama and Hillary. It is a left, progressive, socialist, anti-Trump, pro Obama/Clinton family owned business. Its agenda is to sway public opinion to their favor rather than based on FACTS and TRUTH. Their agenda is socialism which always makes the RICH wealthier and wipes out the middle class entirely.

Dawn Strykr
Dawn Strykr

It was Franklin D. Roosevelt who sold out Americans to the unconstitutional, illegal enslaving, deceitfully titled Federal Reserve PRIVATELY OWNED Banking cartel. Prior to this, Americans did NOT pay income taxes. The democrats are the socialist party, they will always be socialists and they will always push the socialist agenda even to the point they deceive the very middle class they seek to destroy.

Taryn O McCoy
Taryn O McCoy

David Duke confirmed it's his voter base. He doesn't want to offend them.

Harold Brown
Harold Brown

All sides should have been condemned it wasn't a protest it was a riot and there is a big difference

Paul Simon
Paul Simon

What is almost as disturbing as what actually happened, is the false moral equivalency being pushed by so many on the right ....

Brian Haulk
Brian Haulk

He left out the condemnation of Antifa and BLM though for going there with the intent on committing violence against a group that everyone knows won't take it like others have. Smh

Michael Hall
Michael Hall

They all came to fight over a Statue that has no real meaning and not worth dying over. Trying to blame just one side or Trump just shows people how leftist and lying the AJC really is.

Daniel Williams
Daniel Williams

All parties in this were in the wrong as you call it the white supremacist group was the only group that I have seen that followed legal process, the rest were a gang of thugs.

Elliot Lepe Cholico
Elliot Lepe Cholico

Not the "same coin" . One was there to say white People are better than everyone, and the other was there counter that. yes with violence which is wrong, but they were not there to say that black people or brown people are better. The hate terrorist groups stand for violence and racism. They have to own that first and you have to make sure you include it in any discussion about the matter.

Ben L Rainey
Ben L Rainey

Trump was correct the wrapper is wrong as usual white supremacy was not thr only a holes there there we plenty Lib thug too, but we cant mention that will hurt their feelings

Mark Lank
Mark Lank

In fact the ones with the permit was attacked by the other groups . Wonder what they are called ?

Red Phillips
Red Phillips

Donald Trump has sadly caved to the PC beast. He should have pointed out on Sat and today that anti-fa were clearly the instigators and were the ones that prevented a legal rally from taking place.

Rick D. Day
Rick D. Day

There would be no anti fa if there were no fascists, Red.

Red Phillips
Red Phillips

Rick D. Day, the anti-fa are just the latest iteration of the permanent revolution. The permanent revolution will never be satisfied. And most anti-fa wouldn't know a real fascist if he bit them on the rear.

Jerry Broome
Jerry Broome

Hate is as hate does. Show of hands. How many out there hate Trump? So, do you identify with BLM, Antifa, or the KKK today? Or do you chose your hate based on what hate can do for you? No need to answer, it shows.

Sandra Dale Sikes
Sandra Dale Sikes

And he is right! BLM terrorize cities, destroy, burn, brutalize......yet Obama TWICE invited BLM groups to the White House and praised them......AntiFa is another nasty group......

Sandra Dale Sikes
Sandra Dale Sikes

Kimberly Seman Obama invited BLM to the White House, where he fawned all over them, bragged on them, etc. VIDEO PROOF.

Kimberly Seman
Kimberly Seman

What a crock of lies! Keep spreading your Brainwashed Fox News lies. President Obama condemned the violence by BLM when they got violent just because Fox News never aired it does not make it any less so.

Kevin Tuttle
Kevin Tuttle

BLM stands for life. The KKK stands for hate. People will always go off message but the organizations are NOT comparable.

Sandra Dale Sikes
Sandra Dale Sikes

Kevin Tuttle BLM stands for violence, for intimidating behavior, for threats against conservatives, for PAID PARTICIPANTS. BLM has done NOTHING to improve anyone's life, much less black lives. The KKK is embarrassing in its very existence, as is any hate group. Nazis, white supremacists, Antifa, BLM, Muslim terrorists......none of these should be allowed to disrupt, to harm, to infringe on others' rights. Speaking out is a right, for ALL OF US. Violence must be condemned and punished, ALL PARTICIPANTS. Enough of the finger pointing and blame, stop the ridiculous hypocrisy now! All Americans must unite to protect and defend our beloved country, our Constitution, our heritage, our culture......

Kevin Tuttle
Kevin Tuttle

No, it doesn't at all stand for violence. Don't make up hateful nonsense.

Sandra Dale Sikes
Sandra Dale Sikes

Kevin Tuttle "Hateful nonsense" sounds a little wishful thinking......did you not SEE what BLM has done in several cities, burning, looting, beating up non-BLM people?

Roy Redding
Roy Redding

Kimberly Seman - Please provide a link or source for Obama denouncing BLM. I tried google and came up empty. Also, according to google, Obama did invite BLM to the White House on more than one occasion.

Kevin Tuttle
Kevin Tuttle

Sandra Dale Sikes I am talking about the "organization" and "movement" which is non-violent. That people do violent things while claiming to be part of it is unfortunate but doesn't mean that's the point of the movement.

Sandra Dale Sikes
Sandra Dale Sikes

Kevin Tuttle What specifically is the point of BLM? What specifically have they done for black people or any people? What is the specific goal? Thanks!

Roy Redding
Roy Redding

Kevin Tuttle - So, it's just unfortunate that people claiming to be a part of BLM are committing acts of violence? Has BLM denounced ALL of the violence committed in their name? Now, Trump has denounced David Duke, neo-nazis, white supremacist, and the KKK on many occasions. There is a great YouTube video of Trump actually denouncing those idiots. Yet, you want me to believe that BLM is non-violent because they simply make the claim. Yet, Trump has denounced these hateful racist groups on many occasions and you still call him a racist. Despite the lack of proof and evidence. BLM is a hateful racist organization. They have been directly responsible for several violent protest and for starting some riots.

Thomas Hughes
Thomas Hughes

Should he condemn the actions of the communist agitators as well

Thomas Hughes
Thomas Hughes

Kevin Tuttle they were not peaceful They came there to fight

Kevin Tuttle
Kevin Tuttle

The peaceful protestors than got run over by a car? No. He shouldn't.

Kevin Tuttle
Kevin Tuttle

What evidence do you have that they came to fight?

Thomas Hughes
Thomas Hughes

Kevin Tuttle that they came and went up to them and started fighting

Kevin Tuttle
Kevin Tuttle

Even if you have video of one of them doing so, which I doubt, that doesn't mean it was the original intent of every one of them.

Roy Redding
Roy Redding

Kevin Tuttle - So we should only condemn the white supremacist and new-nazis? While they should definitely be condemned, we must also condemn the counter protesters that came to incite violence. That would be BLM and antifa. They are all responsible and all of them are wrong!

Kevin Tuttle
Kevin Tuttle

I'm seeing a guy with a Southern Nationalist Flag (Black Cross) charging into a crowd and attacking people.

Kevin Tuttle
Kevin Tuttle

I'm seeing literally what I said. Are you not seeing a man with the Black Cross flag charge into a crowd?

Thomas Hughes
Thomas Hughes

Kevin Tuttle selective sight goes with selective memory and selective facts It is painfully clear both sides were attacking each other

Thomas Hughes
Thomas Hughes

Kevin Tuttle yes I saw that and much more It's communist and nazis fighting Nothing new But I do condemn the guy who drove his car into the crowd because he took the violence to fatality and serious bodily harm

Thomas Hughes
Thomas Hughes

Black lives matter and antigacist which is pretty obvious Because what is an anti fascist

Kevin Tuttle
Kevin Tuttle

I've seen no evidence that "they all came to incite violence". How is BLM communist?

Roy Redding
Roy Redding

Kevin Tuttle - Who said "they all came to incite violence"? Yet, you have seen evidence that some of the counter protesters did indeed incite violence! BLM supports collective ownership of the economy, and that is basically communism.