Instead of rescuing himself from his white supremacy scandal, Trump made things much worse.
Monday was supposed to be the day Donald Trump cleaned up his white supremacy mess in the wake of the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia. Instead, he just made it worse with a series of baffling and disturbing outbursts that lent further credence to critics who view him as a racist sympathizer.
The stunning missteps included lashing out at a prominent black CEO; offering a pardon to a racist, birther sheriff convicted of criminal contempt; and then going on Twitter and boosting the profile of a prominent "alt-right" hate figure who was hyping a favorite right-wing theme about black crime in America.
All of this unfolded while Trump reluctantly, belatedly, and petulantly read prepared comments off a teleprompter about how "racism is evil." But Trump’s actions yesterday spoke louder than his words.
Trump only found himself in trouble because, incredibly, he’d failed to condemn heavily armed Nazi and Klan sympathizers who rampaged in the streets of Charlottesville on Saturday. Rather than calling out of the raw hate on display, Trump stood muted, managing only to decry violence “on many sides.”
After an avalanche of criticism, from everyone from German Chancellor Angela Merkel to the editors of the New York Post, the White House set out to right the wrongs, but Trump and his race-baiting behavior kept getting in the way.
In the morning, Trump lashed out at Merck CEO and chairman Kenneth Frazier after he announced he was resigned from Trump’s “American Manufacturing Council” because of Trump’s lack of moral leadership over the weekend.
Following Frazier’s lead, the CEOs of Under Armour and Intel both announced they were quitting Trump’s manufacturing initiative and for similar reasons. Both men are white, but neither has been attacked by Trump on Twitter for their decision to quit.
Monday afternoon, word got out that Trump had told Fox News that he was considering granting a pardon to Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who was recently found guilty of criminal contempt for defying a judge’s order that Arpaio stop using racial profiling in traffic stops. A proud birther, Arpaio once bragged, “I feed the dogs better than the inmates.”
Note that Trump is following the lead of neo-Nazis who have publicly called for Arpaio to be pardoned.
Capping off the extraordinary race-baiting day, Trump retweeted a post from a notorious “alt-right” leader, Jack Posobic, who previously pushed the PizzaGate and Seth Rich conspiracy theories. In the past he’s also been an ally of Richard Spencer, a key player in Saturday’s violent white supremacy march. Posobic “is currently helping organize multiple alt-right rallies similar to the one in Charlottesville in cities throughout the U.S. this coming weekend,” Newsweek reports.
The tweet of Posobic’s that Trump boosted to his millions of followers Monday night was about Chicago crime. The dog-whistle topic has long been a favorite within the right-wing media, as conservative strive to portray crime as being synonymous with black America.
On a day that Trump was supposed to help heal, he managed to do the opposite.