Were it not just the latest example of Donald Trump’s unfitness for office, Tuesday’s press conference, in which he unburdened himself of his real view of the neo-Nazi riot in Charlottesville, would have been even more shocking.
He told the world that there is nothing to choose between white supremacists and those who oppose them. Worse, he went out of his way — this is the President of the USA, do not forget — to praise the “very fine people” marching in Charlottesville — people marching proudly alongside neo-Nazis, KKK members and other assorted racists, chanting “Jews will not replace us.”
President Trump may claim not to be racist. His cheerleaders — some, shamefully, from our own community — may say the same. Objective fact says otherwise.
It is one thing to witness racist violence in the US. Tragically, this has existed throughout its history. It is quite another, however, when the President of the US is unable to bring himself to single out those racists for condemnation and equates the bigots with those who protest against their bigotry.
The JC pointed out on his election that President Trump had knowingly unleashed the forces of darkness for his own political ends. To that extent, his behaviour this week is par for the course. But a line has been crossed.
Until now, it has been impossible to imagine any US president not immediately and vigorously denouncing the likes of those who marched on Charlottesville.
On Tuesday, President Trump stood behind the great seal of his office and did the opposite, drawing an equivalence between white supremacists and those who oppose them. President Trump shames his office.