Johnny Isakson: Donald Trump shouldn’t have dithered over Charlottesville

U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson on Monday leveled some sharp criticism of President Donald Trump’s failure to immediately condemn racist organizers of a Charlottesville, Va., protest that turned deadly this weekend.

Isakson made his remarks on GPB Radio’s “Political Rewind,” in what was essence a prequel to this evening’s town hall meeting at Kennesaw State University.

Asked if he were satisfied with Trump’s response, Isakson said:

“If something that rises to that level of horror takes place, it should be expeditiously and quickly addressed by the leader of that country…”

Does holding office in an overwhelmingly red state make it harder to criticize the president? Said the senator;

“No. Right’s right and wrong is wrong. And when something carries to that level, not only is it not hard, but it’s incumbent upon me as an elected official with some standing in the state to speak out against it.”

Did Trump take too long?

“Any pause could be measured as too long. Because, how do you gauge the measurement. It should be swift, it should be concise. It should be to the point. And it should leave no room for equivocation or speculation on anybody’s mind as to where the president stands.”

Do the David Dukes of the world see delay and hesitation from Trump as a wink of approval? Said Isakson:

“People of no standing and no credibility will seek any way they can to get it, including stealing it from somebody who’s got it. That’s why if you’re an elected official and someone embraces you as their hero, yet they stand for something that you’re against – if you don’t speak out, you’re by acquiescence endorsing what they do.”

On the topic of health care, Isakson defended his vote in favor of a “skinny repeal” of the Affordable Care Act last month as a means of getting the effort to a House-Senate conference committee. Said Isakson:

“The way you begin to get to a decision and a final piece of work is get out of 535 people’s hands and get into thirty-five or forty peoples’ hands – the conference committee.”

But the senator repeated his contention that, if pre-existing conditions are to be covered by health insurance, some form of coercion is needed to require all Americans to buy it.

Obamacare leveled an IRS-imposed tax on the uninsured. A House Republican attempt to repeal the ACA would have allowed private companies to level heavy penalties on those who skipped premiums. Said Isakson:

“For years we tried to figure out a way to get people to buy car insurance. We finally created a situation called “no fault,” so you can’t get your license plate unless you buy car insurance to protect the people that you hit. All the sudden, car insurance – everybody had it…

“We’ve got to find a reason that causes people to say, ‘You know, I’ve got to go ahead and buy my own insurance. When everybody’s buying insurance, or buying some coverage, you amortize the risk over a larger pool of people. You lower the cost of pre-existing conditions. You lower the cost of any high-cost medical procedures….

“Before we get through with this thing, there may be another form of no-fault insurance, dealing with health care rather than automobiles.”

If you couldn’t catch it live, click below to listen now:

Today’s panelists: Host Bill Nigut, yours truly, and another AJC Insider, Greg Bluestein.

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