A number of Republicans and a former U.S. Labor secretary are calling Donald Trump out for being a bigot and for trying to incite a civil war.
Trump has received criticisms left and right ever since white nationalists and supremacists held a rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, last Saturday. A former U.S. Labor secretary has also accused Trump of “trying to start a civil war.”
Robert Reich, who served under former Presidents Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter, claims that Trump is using violence as a “political strategy” and is quietly goading his supporters to start a conflict against everyone else.
Reich also said that Trump refusing to condemn the Charlottesville violence is a part of his political strategy.
“Trump’s goal has never been to promote guns or white supremacy or to fuel attacks on the press and the left. These may be means, but the goal has been to build and fortify his power. And keep him in power even if it’s found that he colluded with Russia to get power.”
Reich went further by pointing an accusing finger at Trump adviser Steve Bannon. According to Reich, Bannon is also responsible for the growing indifference between Trump and the general public. Reich also said that “a smaller version of the civil war” is taking place in the White House in which Bannon is “doing battle with leveller heads.”
Trump was initially criticized for staying silent and then blaming “both sides” after violence erupted at the rally in which a car driven by one of the white supremacists plowed through a group of counter-protesters, resulting to injuries to at least 19 people and the death of 32-year-old Heather Heyer.
On Monday, Trump finally condemned the actions of the white supremacists. He even said that “racism is evil” and called out the Klu Klux Klan and Neo-Nazis by name in his effort to suppress the mounting public outrage over his initial lackadaisical response.
However, in a recent press conference held after a meeting at the Trump Tower, the president backed down on his condemnation of the white supremacists and went back to his initial comment that there were mistakes made by “both sides.”
NBC News reported that Trump “went rogue” and caught White House senior staff off guard with his comments, particularly his efforts to defend what he initially said about the Charlottesville violence. Trump was only supposed to talk about the executive order on infrastructure, which he signed moments before he appeared at the lobby of the Trump Tower to face the crowd. The plan was for Trump to immediately go back upstairs after answering a few questions about the new EO.
The comments Trump made during the said press conference have opened a flood gate of harsher criticisms against him. In fact, senior members of the Republican Party, to which Trump belongs, have openly denounced the president for defending the alt-right.
Senator John McCain from Arizona lambasted Trump by saying “there’s no moral equivalency between racists and Americans standing up to defy hate and bigotry.” House Speaker Paul Ryan, who has an on-and-off relationship with Trump, said that “white supremacy is repulsive’ and that “this bigotry is counter to all this country stands for.”
Mitt Romney, meanwhile, said that Trump is mistaken when he said that there are “many sides” to the Charlottesville incident. Romney, the Republican presidential nominee in 2012, said that the sides are “not the same” and from “morally different universes.” He described one side as “racist, bigoted, Nazi” while the other opposed “racism, bigotry.”
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