Yesterday Trump gave a free-wheeling, off-the-rails, and combative press conference with reporters about his responses to the violence in Charlottesville. Most observers who were not in the Nazi-camp were horrified--but a few, some Trump Supporters--came to his defense. So The Omnivore, sadly, does need to write this.
The Trump-Supporter in question feels that Trump was pretty even-handed. There was violence on both sides. The ACLU, in fact, defended the white nationalist's right to protest on the grounds when the city tried to move them further away for security reasons. Notably, the city didn't try to move the counter-protesters (perhaps because they wanted the groups separated?). Anyway, the ACLU successfully intervened, the protest and the counter-protest happened at the same time--and, well, a woman died when a white nationalist who had been in attendance on the Nazi-side rammed his car into a bunch of people, killing one and badly wounding many others.
What Was The Problem With Yesterday's Speech?
This came in a climate where there was intense clashes all around the park as the Nazi-protesters emptied out into the general street. These clashes were between the Nazis (and other affiliated groups) and the counter-protesters--and looking at the video it's sometimes hard to know who is who--and who started what.
So, when Trump described "both sides" as bearing blame, well, isn't he kind of right?
No--and he's not just not-kind-of-right. He's horribly, horribly wrong.
Before we go any further, we should note that Trump is really explicit about his judo-grip on the facts of the case:
Okay--he's got the facts. Now what?
Trump Was Horribly WrongThe Omnivore is going to Omni-splain on two basic fronts. Neither of these is going to "defend antifa"--we can talk about antifa after. No--this is going to hinge on the fact that:
- Trump defended torch-carrying Nazi-chanters in a fully and knowingly disingenuous way (for someone who had "all the facts"). There was no reason to do this--it's immaterial to a discussion of blame for Saturday's violence.
- Trump is creates a group, the alt-left (which is, itself, white-nationalist language) to be his counter-balance. This creation is a smokescreen that helps no one but the Nazis.
- The Nazis were, unabashedly, pro-Trump. This, alone, should concern him more than counter-protesters who were anti-Trump. They are doing their race-hatred bearing his name.
Here is Trump:
Ok--so here we have an assertion--that the group above--the torch-carrying Nazis had some "very fine people" in the group--as well as some "very bad people." The very-fine people (who, The Omnivore asserts, the Trump-supporter in question can not pick out of the crowd) were there, presumably to protest the taking down of a Confederate statue.
If they were there for Heritage-not-Hate, that might not be so bad, right?
Here's what they were there for:
Does this really look like a march to save a goddamn statue?
Look at that guy who got top billing: Mike Enoch. He hosts a show The Daily Shoah.
You, Trump-Supporter, don't know who Mike Enoch is. And you also, in your goddamn comfy chair at your computer don't know what "Shoah" means. So you feel just fine assuming that this is about Heritage-Not-Hate and there probably were good people there.
Shoah is the Jewish word for Holocaust. The guy getting top billing hosts a radio show called the Daily Holocaust. Is that okay?
Do those eagles look familiar? Maybe naziriffic? Yes--yes they do.
THIS IS THE RALLY THE PEOPLE MARCHING HAD A FUCKING PERMIT FOR. THIS IS A GODDAMN NAZI RALLY.
Do good people attend a Nazi rally? Even for Heritage (not Hate).
Sure they do.
Let's keep going. Trump doesn't just leave it at that--he doubles down--in case there is any question, talking about the "very quiet protesters." They don't have the "rough, bad people."
"Blood and Soil"--a literal Nazi slogan. Also "Jews (or You) Will Not Replace Us." These were shouted slogans as they encircled the non-violent counter-protesters around the statue.
That's who Trump was defending.
Let the Omnivore make a final point here: How do we know there were no "good people" out there with the Tiki-Nazis? Because good people don't march with Nazis.
Trump could have said "antifa"--he has all the facts. He knows who is who and what is what. If he meant antifa, he could have said that. He didn't. He said "alt-left." Why does this matter? Well, it matters because Trump is doing the same rhetorical sleight-of-hand magic trick that the Nazi-guys are doing. He's doing it right in front of you and you're falling for it.
Point 2 - The Creation of the Alt-Left
For starters: there is no alt-left. The Alt-Right is something people claim to actually belong to. It has at least loose precepts. The Alt-Left is a term that the Alt-Right Nazis lump people into who they don't like. Is it violent Antifa thugs? Sure. How about Black Lives Matter people? Of course (the person who was killed was, according to the Trump Supporter, a Black Lives Matter person--so maybe Trump thinks she had in commin'? The Klan is certainly glad she died.
So we don't know who is in this group and who is out of it.
Ahh--but Trump is just attacking the violent ones, right?
We're sure it's not these counter-protesters there without a permit?
Here we go--here are some BLM guys engaged in violence--trying to stop white nationalists from passing them. These people could certainly get counted, right? Looks violent?
The fact here, though is that the Nazi side knew there would be violence and came ready to fight. Look at their hands--see that? Wrapped for fighting.
Now--none of this gets to antifa. Does antifa have any legal or moral right to engage violently with Nazis? In other words, could they be right to punch a Nazi?
Nazis--literal Nazis--are the closest thing to an Army of Darkness that the world has ever known. When people fly their flag--when they throw their salute--when they march under the banner of the death-camps? Well, you can certainly condemn antifa for starting fires at Berkeley, causing property damage to stop Milo from speaking. Beating up people with bike-locks who are there to provoke.
You can--and The Omnivore does.
But people marching under a literal swastika flag and chanting Nazi slogans?
If you are going to strongly condemn violence against those guys, well, that's your right--but by the time we've set the dials to literal praise of genocidal evil appearing in an American town, in force? Both-sidsing it is moral cowardice.
The marchers were, in some cases, explicit:
3. They Did It In Trump's Name
When you are carrying out your Nazi Marchers wearing the banner of Trump--and chanting his name--you would expect that if he didn't like it, he might tell you to stop.
Try using the Trump name or logo in your business venture without his permission and see what happens. In this case? Nothing--no comment about his name showing up on these guys.
What would you, Trump-Voter, have done if Communist were marching and committing violence with Obama-logo shirts on? Given him a pass? The Omnivore doesn't think so.