President Trump has been roundly criticized for his response to the tragedy in Charlottesville, VA over the weekend. Three people died in the carnage that took place at a white nationalist rally that formed after the city decided to take down a statue of Robert E. Lee. The three casualties included a young female counter protester and two policemen.
Trump issued a statement about the deadly incident, condemning violence on "many sides." Critics were quick to point out that the president had failed to condemn the white supremacist groups by name.
Since then, the White House has issued clarifications for the president's rather vague remarks.
“The President said very strongly in his statement yesterday that he condemns all forms of violence, bigotry, and hatred," a statement read Sunday. "Of course that includes white supremacists, KKK, neo-Nazi and all extremist groups. He called for national unity and bringing all Americans together."
The New York Post editorial board joined the chorus of voices wishing their president had done a better job pointing the finger at the true culprits this weekend. They expressed their disappointment in an op-ed. Why did he fail to name the white nationalist groups despite having no problem targeting specific people on Twitter in the recent past - be it media personalities or politicians?
It shouldn’t be that hard to summon up a few Trumpian terms like “losers” and “really, really bad people” to describe the hundreds of neo-Nazis, Klansmen, white supremacists and the like who descended on the college town — not after one of them has killed an innocent.
No doubt the thousands of counterprotesters included a fringe of hard-left losers, such as the “antifa” thugs who seem to relish armed conflict. But the vast bulk of them had nothing to do with “hatred, bigotry and violence”: You don’t have to be any kind of radical to be anti-Nazi.
The New York Times's Maggie Haberman explained the significance of the public criticism.
The paper that Trump reads most often, which is also owned by Murdoch, condemns his statement yesterday https://t.co/UjamO16J5w— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) August 14, 2017
Others in his circle, however, like his daughter Ivanka, did send the right message, the editors made sure to acknowledge.
Yet, does the debate over who issued the strongest condemnations of the violence lead to solutions over this weekend's carnage? Doubtful. President Trump is meeting with Attorney General Jeff Sessions and his new FBI Director Christopher Wray Monday to hopefully start a more meaningful conversation.