Saturday: Blame ‘Many Sides.’ Monday: Half-Heartedly Condemn Bad Guys. Tuesday: the ‘Alt-Left’ Brought It On.
True colors. Trump again defended neo-Nazis and other racists at the Charlottesville, Va., rally in a press conference The Nation said will live in infamy. Trump said “there is blame on both sides” at the rally where paralegal Heather Heyer was killed and at least 19 others were injured. His comments came about 72 hours after her death. He has not contacted Heyer’s mother. “What about the ‘alt-left’ that came charging at, as you say, the ‘alt-right’?” Trump asked. “Do they have any semblance of guilt?” White supremacist David Duke thanked Trump for his “honesty & courage to tell the truth about #Charlottesville & condemn the leftist terrorists.” Republicans rebuked Trump. @POTUS just doesn’t get it,” tweeted Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-Fla.) “There is no moral equivalence between manifestations for or against #whitesupremacy.”
Speaker Paul D. Ryan called white supremacy “repulsive” and said “there can be no moral ambiguity.” Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) said white nationalists in Charlottesville were 100% to blame. “The #WhiteSupremacy groups will see being assigned only 50% of blame as a win,” Mr. Rubio said on Twitter moments after Mr. Trump’s remarks. “We can not allow this old evil to be resurrected.”
Statues toppled. Protesters in Durham, N.C, tore down a Confederate statue. Other Confederate statues are coming down across the country. A monument in Gainesville, Fla., to fallen Confederate soldiers was taken down. Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan called for a statue of Roger Taney, the Supreme Court chief justice who wrote the Dred Scott decision, to be removed from the front lawn of the statehouse. The Charlottesville rally was held near a statue of Robert E. Lee that will be removed.
The Southern Poverty Law Center found there are at least 1,503 symbols of the Confederacy in public spaces. Virginia, Georgia and North Carolina have the most. Dedicating Confederate monuments and symbols spiked as Jim Crow laws were being passed and during the civil rights movement.
Trump questioned removing the statues. “This week, it is Robert E. Lee,” Trump said. “Is it George Washington next? And is it Thomas Jefferson the week after? You know, you really do have to ask yourself, where does it stop?” Trump’s comment comparing Lee with Washington or Jefferson demonstrated a lack of understanding of the different roles played by the Virginia slaveholders: The Revolutionary War generation fought to create the United States while Lee’s Civil War generation fought to destroy it.
CEOs exit. Five business leaders have quit Trump’s manufacturing council after his appalling response to the Charlottesville rally. Scott Paul, the president of the Alliance for American Manufacturing, called his resignation “the right thing for me to do.” Merck CEO Kenneth Frazier (one of America’s most prominent African-American CEOs), Intel CEO Brian Krzanich, Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank and AFL-CIO President Richard Trumpka also quit. Tesla CEO Elon Musk quit earlier this year after Trump announced the U.S. would withdraw from the Paris climate agreement. “I cannot sit on a council for a President that tolerates bigotry and domestic terrorism,” Trumpka wrote.
Affordable Care Act. Insurance companies would raise premiums for plans under the Affordable Care Act by about 20 percent if Trump ends subsidy payments, according to the Congressional Budget Office. Halting payments would increase the federal deficit by $194 billion through 2026. Trump has threatened to halt the payments. Seventeen states and the District of Columbia have intervened in a court case challenging the legality of the payments. The Senate Health Committee plans to hold hearings on stabilizing the markets in September.