Charlottesville Trump Quotes

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Privilege is when your voice is the norm but still you claim to be unheard.
DaShanne Stokes
Extremism, racism, nativism, and isolationism, driven by fear of the unknown, tend to spike in periods of economic and social stress—a period like our own. Americans today have little trust in government; household incomes lag behind our usual middle-class expectations. The fires of fear in America have long found oxygen when broad, seemingly threatening change is afoot. Now, in the second decade of the new century, in the presidency of Donald Trump, the alienated are being mobilized afresh by changing demography, by broadening conceptions of identity, and by an economy that prizes Information Age brains over manufacturing brawn. “We are determined to take our country back,” David Duke, a former grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, said in Charlottesville. “We are going to fulfill the promises of Donald Trump. That’s what we believed in, that’s why we voted for Donald Trump. Because he said he’s going to take our country back. And that’s what we gotta do.
Jon Meacham (The Soul of America: The Battle for Our Better Angels)
Nuance is anathema to his thinking, which is why he can maintain such fidelity to his ideas in a-hundred-and-forty-character bursts.
Jelani Cobb
David Duke, the well-known former Ku Klux Klan leader, tweeted, “Thank you President Trump for your honesty & courage to tell the truth about #Charlottesville.
Bob Woodward (Fear: Trump in the White House)
Senator John McCain called Charlottesville “a confrontation between our better angels and our worst demons. White supremacists and neo-Nazis are, by definition, opposed to American patriotism and the ideals
Bob Woodward (Fear: Trump in the White House)
Additionally, if Trump's statement that there were fine people on both sides was referring to the two violent sides of the conflict, then saying that Nazis were fine people would also be saying that Antifa were fine people; no one can seriously maintain that Trump considers Antifa to be fine people.
Richard West (Candace Owens: An Unauthorized Biography of the Conservative Thinker and Founder of Blexit)
Dennis Prager, the conservative Jewish thinker, noted that the lie is easily debunked. Because the core tenet of the Nazis is a desire to kill Jews, no serious person could believe that Donald Trump, the father and father-in-law of a Jewish couple (the Kushners) and the grandfather of Jewish grandchildren, would consider Nazis to be 'fine people'.
Richard West (Candace Owens: An Unauthorized Biography of the Conservative Thinker and Founder of Blexit)
To proclaim 'America First' was to deny any need to fight fascism either at home or abroad. When American Nazis and white supremacists marched in Charlottesville in August 2017, Trump said that some of them were 'very fine people.' He defended the Confederate and Nazi cause of preserving monuments to the Confederacy. Such monuments in the American South were raised in the 1920s and 1930s, at a time when fascism in the United States was a real possibility; they memorialized the racial purification of Southern cities that was contemporary with the rise of fascism in Europe. Contemporary observers had no difficulty seeing the connection. Will Rogers, the great American entertainer and social commentator of his time, saw Adolf Hitler in 1933 as a familiar figure: 'Papers all state that Hitler is trying to copy Mussolini. Looks to me it's the KKK he's copying.' The great American social thinker and historian W.E.B. Du Bois could see how the temptations of fascism worked together with American myths of the past. He rightly feared that American whites would prefer a story about enmity with blacks to a reforming state that would improve prospects for all Americans. Whites distracted by racism could become, as he wrote in 1935, 'the instrument by which democracy in the nation was done to death, race provincialism deified, and the world delivered to plutocracy,' what we call oligarchy.
Timothy Snyder (The Road to Unfreedom: Russia, Europe, America)
Fine people on both sides? I was disgusted. Here was the same man I’d gone on television to defend when I believed it was appropriate. While I hadn’t been a supporter at the start of his campaign, he’d eventually convinced me he could be an effective president. Trump had proved to be a disrupter of the status quo during the primary and general election. Especially when he began to talk about issues of concern to black Americans. Dems have taken your votes for granted! Black unemployment is the highest it’s ever been! Neighborhoods in Chicago are unsafe! All things I completely agreed with. But now he was saying, 'I’m going to change all that!' He mentioned it at every rally, even though he was getting shut down by the leaders of the African American community. And what amazed me most was that he was saying these things to white people and definitely not winning any points there either. I’d defended Trump on more than one occasion and truly believed he could make a tangible difference in the black community. (And still do.) I’d lost relationships with family members, friends, and women I had romantic interest in, all because I thought advocating for some of his positions had a higher purpose. But now the president of the United States had just given a group whose sole purpose and history have been based on hate and the elimination of blacks and Jews moral equivalence with the genuine counterprotesters. My grandfather was born and raised in Helena, Arkansas, where the KKK sought to kill him and other family members. You can imagine this issue was very personal to me. In Chicago, the day before Trump’s press conference, my grandfather and I had had a long conversation about Charlottesville, and his words to me were fresh in my mind. So, yeah, I was hurt. Angry. Frustrated. Sad.
Gianno Caldwell (Taken for Granted: How Conservatism Can Win Back the Americans That Liberalism Failed)
Trump was hardly in office when Democrats and their media allies began tarring him and his top aides as “white nationalists.” There were no facts to support the charge, only innuendo, and tortured interpretations of the word “nationalism” and of presidential rhetoric. One of the worst examples was the Charlottesville, Virginia, historical monument controversy. In that city, leftist protesters demanded the removal of “Confederate” monuments and memorials. The term “Confederate” in their usage extended even to statues of Thomas Jefferson and explorers Lewis and Clark (for being “white colonists”). This sparked a protest by conservatives who objected to the statue removals—not because they were racists, but because they didn’t want to see the removal of these reminders of America’s history. A “Unite the Right” rally was planned for August 11–12, 2017, to protest the removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee. Unfortunately, the rally attracted extremist groups, including neo-Confederates, neo-Nazis, and the KKK. During the rally, a white supremacist drove his car into a crowd of leftist protestors, killing a woman. In response, Trump made a series of statements condemning the Klan, neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and racism in general. In one of those speeches, he added, “You also had some very fine people on both sides.”115 Even though he had just condemned racism in his previous breath, many Democrats and pundits condemned Trump for calling racists “fine people.” This was not only absurd but dishonest. The “fine people on both sides” to whom he referred were those who wanted to remove the statues because they were reminders of slavery and those who wanted to preserve the statues because they were reminders of history. Trump never praised racists as “fine people”—he condemned them in no uncertain terms. But to the
David Horowitz (BLITZ: Trump Will Smash the Left and Win)
But as I reflected on what the president could have done or said differently, I also remembered what it felt like in the weeks following 9/11. When, for a few glorious weeks, we were all united as Americans. For a brief time, it didn’t seem to matter if you were black, white, or brown. We were all brothers and sisters because we were Americans. We shared certain values, a certain past, a certain goal. We haven’t really seen that since. Charlottesville, I knew, had the same potential to unite us. But Trump’s response derailed that opportunity. America didn’t need a stock statement. The country was pleading for a serious discussion about race, about our fundamental need to completely stamp out the Klan and neo-Nazis. I couldn’t help but think of the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing and the Charleston church shooting. Emmett Till and Jimmie Lee Jackson. Black Codes and the Southern Manifesto. Trump, I felt, had betrayed black America. And Jewish America. And American decency.
Gianno Caldwell (Taken for Granted: How Conservatism Can Win Back the Americans That Liberalism Failed)
Through the fall, the president’s anger seemed difficult to contain. He threatened North Korea with “fire and fury,” then followed up with a threat to “totally destroy” the country. When neo-Nazis and white supremacists held a rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, and one of them killed a protester and injured a score of others, he made a brutally offensive statement condemning violence “on many sides … on many sides”—as if there was moral equivalence between those who were fomenting racial hatred and violence and those who were opposing it. He retweeted anti-Muslim propaganda that had been posted by a convicted criminal leader of a British far-right organization. Then as now, the president’s heedless bullying and intolerance of variance—intolerance of any perception not his own—has been nurturing a strain of insanity in public dialogue that has been long in development, a pathology that became only more virulent when it migrated to the internet. A person such as the president can on impulse and with minimal effort inject any sort of falsehood into public conversation through digital media and call his own lie a correction of “fake news.” There are so many news outlets now, and the competition for clicks is so intense, that any sufficiently outrageous statement made online by anyone with even the faintest patina of authority, and sometimes even without it, will be talked about, shared, and reported on, regardless of whether it has a basis in fact. How do you progress as a culture if you set out to destroy any common agreement as to what constitutes a fact? You can’t have conversations. You can’t have debates. You can’t come to conclusions. At the same time, calling out the transgressor has a way of giving more oxygen to the lie. Now it’s a news story, and the lie is being mentioned not just in some website that publishes unattributable gossip but in every reputable newspaper in the country. I have not been looking to start a personal fight with the president. When somebody insults your wife, your instinctive reaction is to want to lash out in response. When you are the acting director, or deputy director, of the FBI, and the person doing the insulting is the chief executive of the United States, your options have guardrails. I read the president’s tweets, but I had an organization to run. A country to help protect. I had to remain independent, neutral, professional, positive, on target. I had to compartmentalize my emotions. Crises taught me how to compartmentalize. Example: the Boston Marathon bombing—watching the video evidence, reviewing videos again and again of people dying, people being mutilated and maimed. I had the primal human response that anyone would have. But I know how to build walls around that response and had to build them then in order to stay focused on finding the bombers. Compared to experiences like that one, getting tweeted about by Donald Trump does not count as a crisis. I do not even know how to think about the fact that the person with time on his hands to tweet about me and my wife is the president of the United States.
Andrew G. McCabe (The Threat: How the FBI Protects America in the Age of Terror and Trump)
At that point in the show, I broke down in tears. The pain and sadness I felt, that our president, this man I’d defended on prior occasions, could not bring us together when the country so desperately needed it. I have, of course, never met anyone who lived through slavery, but I have met people who lived through Jim Crow. The anger and frustration I felt at this time made me feel as though we were back in those very dark times. After the segment was over, I wiped away my tears and got in the car. I needed sleep, needed to clear my mind and heart.
Gianno Caldwell (Taken for Granted: How Conservatism Can Win Back the Americans That Liberalism Failed)
President Trump has changed the presidency by speaking for himself. A signature aspect of this characteristic is his facility with quick denunciations of melting intensity. In June 2017, the president criticized the mayor of London for being soft on terrorists just hours after his city was attacked. He dinged California forest management officials in the middle of record fires that were scorching acres in November 2018. The president sent twenty-seven tweets about NFL players protesting racial injustice by choosing to kneel during the national anthem, a practice he found repugnant. He tweeted eighty-four times suggesting that President Obama was not born in America. Whether his target is a federal judge, Gold Star parents, or weather-battered officials in Puerto Rico, Donald Trump says what is on his mind immediately and doesn't sweat the nuances. By contrast, the president's six tweets in the aftermath of the Charlottesville violence never referred to racism or bigotry or white nationalism. When Trump is passionate about something, it's unmistakable. So why did the president lapse into vagueness when it came to Charlottesville?
John Dickerson (The Hardest Job in the World: The American Presidency)
During the Charlottesville protests, Trump saw nuance—there was violence on “many sides,” there was “blame on both sides,” and there were “many fine people” among the neo-Nazis.
Ronald J. Sider (The Spiritual Danger of Donald Trump: 30 Evangelical Christians on Justice, Truth, and Moral Integrity)
And you had people - and I'm not talking about the neo-Nazis and the white nationalists - because they should be condemned totally. But you had many people in that group other than neo-Nazis and white nationalists. Okay? And the press has treated them absolutely unfairly.
Donald J. Trump
Against this background (North Korea missile threats), almost no one paid attention to the announcement by the Trump supporter and American neo-Nazi Richard Spencer that he was organizing a protest at the University of Virginia, in Charlottesville, over the removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee. "Unite the Right," the theme of the rally called for Saturday, August 12, was explicitly designed to link Trump's politics with white nationalism.
Michael Wolff (Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House)
So when Trump, in his defense of the Robert E. Lee statue in Charlottesville, Virginia, claims that there is “literally no difference” between Lee and George Washington—both “owned slaves,” both “rebelled against the ruling government,” “both were great men, great Americans, great commanders,” and both “saved America”—he is equating Confederate nationalism and American patriotism. He is equating the defense of slavery with the revolutionary cause of independence and scolding the media for not getting the parallel.
Angie Maxwell (The Long Southern Strategy: How Chasing White Voters in the South Changed American Politics)
Trump barely won the election, but his victory felt like he had split the land in two, and whatever was released from below sucked up most of the oxygen. For many, the far right had taken hold of the reins of government. Trump refused to condemn white supremacists and neo-Nazis in Charlottesville. Tried to ban Muslims from entering the country. Turned on “enemies” within and without. He embraced draconian immigration policies—separating children from their parents and building tent cities to hold them—and declared the so-called caravan of refugees at the southern border a carrier of contagion (leprosy) and a threat to the security of the nation. Contrary to what he declared during his inaugural address, Trump did not stop the “American carnage.” He unleashed it. As the country lurched to the far right and reasserted the lie, Black Lives Matter went relatively silent, or it was no longer heard. Activists scattered. Many had suffered the
Eddie S. Glaude Jr. (Begin Again: James Baldwin's America and Its Urgent Lessons for Our Own)
many Trump scandals and conspiracies—tool of the Russians, Charlottesville, Stormy Daniels, “shithole” countries, Sharpiegate, Ukraine, tax returns, Trump Foundation, and on and on—that I don’t think people could keep track of them all.
Stephanie Grisham (I'll Take Your Questions Now: What I Saw at the Trump White House)
I want to make this clear: Putin’s government used intelligence tradecraft and social media savvy to lie to the American public throughout the 2016 campaign and afterward, and it was those lies that led directly to the deepening of divisions in our society, to the erosion of our government institutions and destabilization of our democracy, to Donald Trump’s election, and to the demonstrations of hate in Charlottesville.
James R. Clapper (Facts and Fears: Hard Truths from a Life in Intelligence)
Examples of this type of propaganda include the false and debunked portrayal of Trump as having mocked a disabled person, the false claim that Trump supported white supremacists and Nazis at the Charlottesville Virginia riots and the false claim that Trump supported a “Muslim ban.
Charles Moscowitz (Toward Fascist America: 2021: The Year that Launched American Fascism (2021: A Series of Pamphlets by Charles Moscowitz Book 2))
Any influence that the journal might have had eroded further in the summer of 2017, after Trump’s tin-eared and self-indulgent response to the death of a counterprotester at an alt-right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. Krein disavowed his support of the president. In the pages of the New York Times, he wrote, “Mr. Trump has betrayed the foundations of our common citizenship.
Matthew Continetti (The Right: The Hundred-Year War for American Conservatism)
If Trump had followed the example of his predecessors and conceded power graciously and peacefully, he would have been remembered as a disruptive but consequential populist leader who, before the coronavirus pandemic, presided over an economic boom, reoriented America’s opinion of China, removed terrorist leaders from the battlefield, revamped the space program, secured an originalist majority on the US Supreme Court, and authorized Operation Warp Speed to produce a COVID-19 vaccine in record time. Instead, when historians write about the Trump era, they will do so through the lens of January 6. They will focus on Trump’s tortured relationship with the alt-right, on his atrocious handling of the deadly Charlottesville protest in 2017, on the rise in political violence during his tenure in office, and on his encouragement of malevolent conspiracy theories. Trump joined the ranks of American villains from John C. Calhoun to Andrew Johnson, from Joseph McCarthy to George Wallace.
Matthew Continetti (The Right: The Hundred-Year War for American Conservatism)
Charlottesville did not come out of the blue. We saw these extremists at work during the 2016 presidential campaign. They took particular aim at those Jewish journalists who they believed were either opposed to Trump or insufficiently supportive of him. During the primaries, Bethany Mandel, a self-described political conservative who has written for, among other publications, the Federalist and Commentary, tweeted what she described as “an offhand remark” about Donald Trump’s “legions of antisemitic fans.” She described the responses she received as “unlike anything [she had] seen before on Twitter.
Deborah E. Lipstadt (Antisemitism: Here and Now)
Trump bundles together Mexicans, Muslims, journalists, climate change scientists, “elites,” and the counterdemonstrators in Charlottesville as the enemy of what in his inaugural address he called “a historic movement the likes of which the world has never seen before.
David Cay Johnston (It's Even Worse Than You Think: What the Trump Administration Is Doing to America)
In the month that followed the intolerable events in Charlottesville, America’s six top broadsheet newspapers ran twenty-eight opinion pieces condemning anti-fascist action, but only twenty-seven condemning neo-Nazis, white supremacists and Trump’s failure to disavow them.
Natasha Lennard (Being Numerous: Essays on Non-Fascist Life)