Republicans Scold Trump Over His Tepid Response to the Neo-Nazi Violence in Charlottesville
Trump lies low. Republican leaders are urging Trump to break with nationalist groups. “We should call evil by its name,” tweeted Sen. Orin Hatch (R-Utah). “My brother didn’t give his life fighting Hitler for Nazi ideas to go unchallenged here at home.” Said Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.): “This is a time to lay blame—to lay blame on bigotry, to lay blame on white supremacists, on white nationalism and on hatred. And that needs to be said. This President needs to do exactly that today.”
The African-American head of U.S. drugmaker Merck resigned Monday from a presidential manufacturing advisory council, protesting of the president’s failure to condemn in stronger terms the Charlottesville, Va., violence. Trump promptly told him, in effect, good riddance. Merck said on Twitter that CEO Kenneth Frazier quit the council because, “America’s leaders must honor our fundamental values by clearly rejecting expressions of hatred, bigotry and group supremacy, which run counter to the American ideal that all people are created equal.” Trump’s Twitter response came moments later. Later in the day, Trump delivered a scripted but more forceful condemnation of the violence.
A White House spokesperson who declined to be named issued a statement condemning “white supremacists,” for inciting violence in Charlottesville. The emailed statement was sent more than 36 hours after the protests began. Trump on Saturday denounced the “egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides.” Trump’s comments were noticeably less harsh than his comments about Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
“Not many presidents could make threatening nuclear war the second worst thing he did in a week,” tweeted Gady Epstein, media editor for The Economist.
On Sunday, Vice President Mike Pence spoke out far more forcefully than Trump had the day before, saying: “We have no tolerance for hate and violence from white supremacists, neo Nazis or the KKK. These dangerous fringe groups have no place in American public life and in the American debate, and we condemn them in the strongest possible terms.”
In 1927, Trump’s father, Fred Trump, was arrested after a Klan riot in Queens. Trump denied his father’s arrest, saying it never happened.
Police passivity. State police and National Guardsmen stood by for hours as self-proclaimed Nazis battled in the streets with counterprotesters. The Daily Stormer, a neo-Nazi website, encouraged people to bring pepper spray and shields. Many white supremacists wore helmets and carried clubs and shields. Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe defended the police, noting that many of the protesters were armed. But Brittany Caine-Conley, a minister in training, said there was no police presence. “We were watching people punch each other,” she said. “People were bleeding all the while police were inside of barricades at the park watching.”
Civil rights. The Justice Department is opening a civil rights investigation into the crash that killed Heather Heyer and injured at least 19 other people. Heyer, a 32-year-old paralegal, had a strong sense of social justice. “A big thing that bothered Heather was this whole past election,” said her boss, Alfred Wilson. “She would literally sit in the office and cry at times because she was worried about what was going to happen to the country.” James Alex Fields Jr., the man accused of driving a car into a crowd of activists was a longtime Nazi sympathizer.
North Korea. Newsweek is reporting that independent rocket scientists are saying the two missiles launched by North Korea in July are incapable of delivering a nuclear payload to the continental United States. The findings were published Friday in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. The scientists wrote that the missiles carried very small payloads that were nowhere near the weight of a nuclear warhead.
Stabilizing Obamacare. Alaska will get $323 million in federal funding over the next five years to help persuade the lone Obamacare insurer to stay in the market and hold down premiums. At least four other states are seeking similar deals. Oklahoma, Oregon, Minnesota and Iowa are seeking federal approval for similar efforts. New Hampshire and Maine are considering it.