Posts Tagged ‘David Duke’

Donald Trump’s ‘working visit’ to UK dropped as tensions with Theresa May grow over president’s far-Right retweets

December 1, 2017

Cancelled: US diplomats have quietly shelved plans for a ‘working visit’ by Donald Trump to Britain in the new year CREDIT: AP PHOTO/EVAN VUCCI

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U.S. diplomats have dropped plans for Donald Trump to conduct a visit to Britain in January amid a war of words between the two countries’ leaders.

Mr Trump, the US president, had been pencilled in for a ‘working visit’ in the first month of 2018 to formally open America’s new London embassy.

The trip, a scaled down version of a state visit with no meeting with the Queen, was intended to allow Mr Trump to come to the UK while avoiding the mass protests a full state visit would likely trigger.

However, The Telegraph can reveal that the trip has been pushed into the long grass, with no new date in the diary picked.

A senior US diplomat said: “The idea of a visit has obviously been floated, but not December and not January. I would not expect a Trump visit in January.”

It comes with relations between Theresa May and Mr Trump deteriorating in a public spat over the US president’s tweeting of…

Read the rest:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/11/30/donald-trumps-working-visit-uk-dropped-tensions-theresa-may/

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 (The Wall Street Journal)

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UK reeling as Trump upbraids May in anti-Muslim tweet row — Britain First hailed Trump for his support, Joined by the KKK (David Duke)

November 30, 2017

AFP

© AFP/File / by Dario THUBURN | British Prime Minister Theresa May visited US President Donald Trump at the White House in January

LONDON (AFP) – Britain was reeling Thursday after US President Donald Trump castigated Prime Minister Theresa May over her rebuke to him for posting anti-Muslim tweets, but the government sought to play down the row.Plunging headlong into a high-profile spat with one of America’s closest international partners, Trump suggested May focus on defending Britain rather than criticising him after he retweeted anti-Muslim videos from a British far-right group.

“@Theresa_May, don’t focus on me, focus on the destructive Radical Islamic Terrorism that is taking place within the United Kingdom. We are doing just fine!” Trump tweeted late Wednesday.

Trump had to delete an earlier tweet with the same message after he used the wrong Twitter handle for May, instead tagging @theresamay, who is reportedly a 41-year-old mother from Bognor Regis with just six followers.

There were calls for Trump’s planned state visit to Britain, which has been highly controversial ever since May extended the invitation at her first meeting with him at the White House in January, to be cancelled.

– ‘Betrayal of special relationship’ –

London Mayor Sadiq Khan, who has been involved in a series of spats with Trump, said it was “increasingly clear that any official visit at all from President Trump to Britain would not be welcomed”.

He said Trump’s actions were “a betrayal of the special relationship between our two countries”.

“The prime minister of our country should be using any influence she and her government claim to have with the president and his administration to ask him to delete these tweets and to apologise to the British people.”

Trump drew fierce condemnation at home and abroad for retweeting three incendiary anti-Muslim videos posted by Jayda Fransen, deputy head of the British far-right group Britain First, who has been convicted of a hate crime.

– Trump was ‘wrong’ –

May said through a spokesman that Trump was “wrong” to promote the “hateful narratives” of the group.

Local Government Minister Sajid Javid said Trump had “endorsed the views of a vile, hate-filled racist organisation that hates me and people like me. He is wrong and I refuse to let it go and say nothing.”

But the immediate response from the government after Trump’s rebuke appeared muted.

“In the end, our relationship with the United States has a longevity to it that will succeed long after presidents come and go,” Education Secretary Justine Greening said.

“This is a president that behaves unlike any other in the nature of the tweets he puts out. I don’t believe that should be able to undermine an overall important relationship with our country,” she said on BBC Radio.

Ann Coulter, a right-wing US commentator who is followed by Trump on Twitter and may have inspired his retweets, defended him in an interview with BBC radio.

“I think he has only given as good as he gets. I think he has been verbally attacked from the mother country for a lot longer than he has been attacking Britain.”

Coulter said she had not researched Fransen’s background before retweeting.

“People retweeting videos are not researching the bios of the people who sent the video,” she said.

Trump’s interventions in British politics have strained the so-called “special relationship”.

He has infuriated British authorities with his tweets on terrorism in Britain.

Before Trump’s latest missive, the White House had scrambled to limit the fallout, saying that even if the anti-Muslim videos were misleading, the president was pointing out a real problem.

“The threat is real, and that’s what the president is talking about,” said White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders.

– ‘Facts do matter’ –

One of the videos falsely claims to show a Muslim migrant beating up a Dutch boy on crutches.

The Dutch embassy in Washington took the unusual step of publicly criticising a sitting US president on Twitter.

“@realDonaldTrump Facts do matter. The perpetrator of the violent act in this video was born and raised in the Netherlands. He received and completed his sentence under Dutch law.”

Another video is described as showing an Islamist mob pushing a teenager off a rooftop, without any context — it appears to be footage filmed during unrest in Egypt in 2013. A man was executed for his role in the teen’s death.

The third video allegedly depicts a Muslim smashing a statue of the Virgin Mary.

Britain First hailed Trump for his support.

The group was formed in 2011 and is known for picketing outside mosques. It has run and lost in several British and European parliament elections.

by Dario THUBURN
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 (The Wall Street Journal)

Trump anti-Muslim video retweet sparks condemnations — “Sure looks racist.” — David Duke (of the KKK) Supoported the President’s Tweets….

November 29, 2017

Reuters and France 24

Video by Philip CROWTHER

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2017-11-29

Britain criticised U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday after he retweeted anti-Islam videos originally posted by a leader of a far-right British fringe party who was convicted earlier this month of abusing a Muslim woman.

Jayda Fransen, deputy leader of the anti-immigration Britain First group, posted the videos which she said showed a group of people who were Muslims beating a teenage boy to death, battering a boy on crutches and destroying a Christian statue.

Trump’s decision to re-tweet the videos prompted criticism from both sides of the Atlantic, with some British lawmakers demanding an apology and U.S. Muslim groups saying it was incendiary and reckless.

“It is wrong for the president to have done this,” the spokesman for British Prime Minister Theresa May said.

“Britain First seeks to divide communities through their use of hateful narratives which peddle lies and stoke tensions. They cause anxiety to law-abiding people.”

Reuters was unable to immediately verify the videos and Fransen herself said they had come from various online sources which had been posted on her social media pages.

“I’m delighted,” Fransen, who has 53,000 Twitter followers, told Reuters, saying it showed the U.S. president shared her aim of raising awareness of “issues such as Islam”.

As a candidate, Trump called for “a Muslim ban” and, as president, has issued executive orders banning entry to some citizens of multiple countries, although courts have partially blocked the measures from taking effect.

“Look, I’m not talking about the nature of the video,” White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders told reporters. “The threat is real and that’s what the president is talking about is the need for national security, the need for military spending, and those are very real things. There’s nothing fake about that.”

Ban on Islam

Britain First is a peripheral political party which wants to end all immigration and bring in a comprehensive ban on Islam, with anyone found to be promoting the religion’s ideology to be deported or imprisoned.

The group, which rarely garners any media attention but attracts a few hundred protesters to its regular street demonstrations, states on its website it is a “loyalist
movement”. Critics say it is simply racist.

Fransen was fined earlier this month after being found guilty of religiously aggravated harassment for shouting abuse at a Muslim woman wearing a hijab.

Last week, she was charged by the police in Northern Ireland with using threatening, abusive or insulting words in a speech at a rally in Belfast in August.

Along with the group’s leader, she was also charged in September with causing religiously aggravated harassment over the distribution of leaflets and posting online videos during a court trial involving a number of Muslim men accused and later convicted of rape.

Politicians in Britain condemned Trump, with Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the opposition Labour Party, describing his tweets as “abhorrent, dangerous and a threat to our society”.

U.S. civil rights and Islamic organisations said the posts amounted to an incitement to violence against U.S. Muslims.

“These are actions one would expect to see on virulent anti-Muslim hate sites, not on the Twitter feed of the president of the United States,” Nihad Awad, National Executive Director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the largest U.S. Muslim civil rights organisation, said in a statement.

David Duke, a former leader of the Ku Klux Klan, praised Trump. “He’s condemned for showing us what the fake news media won’t,” Duke wrote on Twitter. “Thank God for Trump! That’s why we love him!”

Fransen, who used similar language to thank Trump, said the president’s re-tweets showed his outrage at her treatment by the media and the authorities.

“The important message here is Donald Trump has been made aware of the persecution and prosecution of a political leader in Britain for giving what has been said by police to be an anti-Islamic speech,” she said.

“He (Trump) stands for free speech and he won’t be deterred by any petty left-leaning journalist in Britain saying he shouldn’t be re-tweeting any individual.”

(REUTERS)

The Poison of Identity Politics

August 16, 2017

The return of white nationalism is part of a deeper ailment.

Neo-Nazis, white supremacists and other alt-right factions near Emancipation Park (Formerly ''Lee Park'') in downtown Charlottesville, Va.
Neo-Nazis, white supremacists and other alt-right factions near Emancipation Park (Formerly ”Lee Park”) in downtown Charlottesville, Va. PHOTO: ALBIN LOHR-JONES/ZUMA PRESS

As ever in this age of Donald Trump, politicians and journalists are reducing the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, on Saturday to a debate over Mr. Trump’s words and intentions. That’s a mistake no matter what you think of the President, because the larger poison driving events like those in Virginia is identity politics and it won’t go away when Mr. Trump inevitably does.

The particular pathology on display in Virginia was the white nationalist movement led today by the likes of Richard Spencer, David Duke and Brad Griffin. They alone are to blame for the violence that occurred when one of their own drove a car into peaceful protesters, killing a young woman and injuring 19 others.

The Spencer crowd courts publicity and protests, and they chose the progressive university town of Charlottesville with malice aforethought. They used the unsubtle Ku Klux Klan symbolism of torches in a Friday night march, and they seek to appear as political martyrs as a way to recruit more alienated young white men.

Political conservatives even more than liberals need to renounce these racist impulses, and the good news is that this is happening. The driver has been charged with murder under Virginia law, and Attorney General Jeff Sessions opened a federal civil-rights investigation and issued a statement condemning the violence: “When such actions arise from racial bigotry and hatred, they betray our core values and cannot be tolerated.” Many prominent conservatives also denounced the white-nationalist movement.

Mr. Trump was widely criticized for his initial statement Saturday afternoon that condemned the hatred “on many sides” but failed to single out the white nationalists. Notably, David Duke and his allies read Mr. Trump’s statement as attacking them and criticized the President for doing so.

The White House nonetheless issued a statement Sunday saying Mr. Trump “includes white supremacists, KKK, Neo-Nazi and all extremist groups” in his condemnation. As so often with Mr. Trump, his original statement missed an opportunity to speak like a unifying political leader.

Yet the focus on Mr. Trump is also a cop-out because it lets everyone duck the deeper and growing problem of identity politics on the right and left. The politics of white supremacy was a poison on the right for many decades, but the civil-rights movement rose to overcome it, and it finally did so in the mid-1960s with Martin Luther King Jr. ’s language of equal opportunity and color-blind justice.

That principle has since been abandoned, however, in favor of a new identity politics that again seeks to divide Americans by race, ethnicity, gender and even religion. “Diversity” is now the all-purpose justification for these divisions, and the irony is that America is more diverse and tolerant than ever.

The problem is that the identity obsessives want to boil down everything in American life to these categories. In practice this means allocating political power, contracts, jobs and now even salaries in the private economy based on the politics of skin color or gender rather than merit or performance. Down this road lies crude political tribalism, and James Damore’s recent Google dissent is best understood as a cri de coeur that we should aspire to something better. Yet he lost his job merely for raising the issue.

A politics fixated on indelible differences will inevitably lead to resentments that extremists can exploit in ugly ways on the right and left. The extremists were on the right in Charlottesville, but there have been examples on the left in Berkeley, Oakland and numerous college campuses. When Democratic politicians can’t even say “all lives matter” without being denounced as bigots, American politics has a problem.

Mr. Trump didn’t create this identity obsession even if as a candidate he did try to exploit it. He is more symptom than cause, though as President he now has a particular obligation to renounce it. So do other politicians. Yet the only mission of nearly every Democrat we observed on the weekend was to use the “white supremacist” cudgel against Mr. Trump—as if that is the end of the story.

It isn’t, and it won’t be unless we confront this underlying politics of division. Not long ago we were rereading Justice Clarence Thomas’s prophetic opinion in Holder v. Hall, a 1994 Supreme Court ruling on dividing voting districts by race.

“As a practical political matter,” he wrote, “our drive to segregate political districts by race can only serve to deepen racial divisions by destroying any need for voters or candidates to build bridges between racial groups or to form voting coalitions.” Writ large, Justice Thomas was warning that identity politics can destroy democratic trust and consent.

Appeared in the August 14, 2017, print edition.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-poison-of-identity-politics-1502661521

With New Remarks on Charlottesville, Trump Leaves Himself Isolated

August 16, 2017

Republicans distance themselves from president’s latest comments on last weekend’s violence

President Trump in the lobby at Trump Tower in New York on Tuesday.
President Trump in the lobby at Trump Tower in New York on Tuesday. PHOTO: JIM WATSON/AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE/GETTY IMAGES

Updated Aug. 15, 2017 9:22 p.m. ET

Throughout the strange odyssey that was the 2016 presidential campaign, Candidate Donald Trump never seemed afraid to be isolated from the political mainstream, standing on an island apart from those inside his party, to say nothing of those outside it.

Yet even Candidate Trump may never have left himself quite so isolated as President Trump did with a remarkable news conference inside Trump Tower on Tuesday afternoon.

Almost inexplicably, one day after Mr. Trump sent a sense of relief washing over his party by unambiguously condemning neo-Nazi groups at the forefront of a protest in Charlottesville, Va., last weekend, the president did a U-turn. He said again that both the white supremacist marchers and those who were there to protest them were equally to blame for the violence there. In that violence, a 32-year-old woman was killed by a young man who drove his car into a gathering of people opposing the white supremacists.

Within minutes of Mr. Trump’s comments, David Duke, a former Ku Klux Klan leader, was tweeting his thanks to the president. Meanwhile, a variety of Republicans were separating themselves from their president.

The organizers of events which inspired & led to are 100% to blame for a number of reasons. 1/6

Mr. President,you can’t allow  to share only part of blame.They support idea which cost nation & world so much pain 5/6

Sen. Marco Rubio retweeted an earlier comment that the president should “describe events in #Charlottesville for what they are, a terror attack by #whitesupremacists,” and proceeded to reel out a new string of tweets underscoring that view. Rep. Will Hurd, a Republican on the House Intelligence Committee—which is looking into the question of whether Mr. Trump’s campaign got inappropriate help from Russia in the 2016 campaign—declared on CNN that the president should “apologize…Racism and bigotry and anti-Semitism in any form is unacceptable, and the leader of the free world should be unambiguous about that.”

House Speaker Paul Ryan said “white supremacy is repulsive” and “there can be no moral ambiguity.” Jeb Bush, a former Florida governor who ran against Mr. Trump last year, tweeted: “This is a time for moral clarity, not ambivalence. I urge President Trump to unite the country, not parse the assignment of blame for the events in Charlottesville.”

And that was the reaction among Republicans. Among Democrats, the president’s remarks were essentially radioactive. Ironically, they came at an event set up so he could, among other things, woo Democrats to work with him on a plan to rebuild the nation’s infrastructure.

Moreover, the response came less than a week after Mr. Trump entered into a rhetorical war with his party’s leader in the Senate, Mitch McConnell, over the failure to pass a bill to repeal and replace Obamacare. Mr. McConnell said the president had “excessive expectations.” The president told his top Senate ally to “get back to work.”

Meanwhile, a number of business and labor leaders have resigned from the president’s manufacturing advisory council in protest over how Mr. Trump has reacted to the Charlottesville violence.

The upshot is that the August recess, a time Mr. Trump might have been able to build support and momentum for what is supposed to be a fall legislative push on the most important items on his domestic agenda, has become anything but. Instead, Mr. Trump may be on his way to emerging from the August period working with a shaken-up White House staff and fewer reliable congressional allies than he had coming in.

The real mystery is why. Mr. Trump had endured a weekend of criticism for saying in his initial reaction to the Charlottesville violence and the death there that there were “many sides” to the unrest. But on Monday he had begun to put that behind him with a statement that more explicitly condemned white supremacists and neo-Nazis, as well as the driver who plowed into a crowd of protesters objecting to their views.

He had no real reason to dive back into the controversy a day later. Yet he apparently couldn’t resist, and instead appeared to be eager to vent anger at the criticism of his original statement—and to justify it by arguing that there were excesses by both the white supremacists and the counterprotesters on the fatal day in Charlottesville.

One immediate problem for Mr. Trump is that his argument that the crowd gathered in Charlottesville included a lot of good people who had simply come to protest the removal of a Confederate statue flew in the face of video footage showing the white nationalists marching to such chants as “Jews will not replace us” and “blood and soil.”

Where things go from here is anybody’s guess. Mr. Trump has never really seemed to mind being isolated from the political establishment. In fact, he often seems to relish that position as proof he is right, and in this case he gave voice to those who think that it is unnecessary to remove all historical symbols of the Confederacy from the South. But that also leaves him mired in a debate over the ugliest aspects of American history—a debate that could get uglier still.

Write to Gerald F. Seib at jerry.seib@wsj.com

Appeared in the August 16, 2017, print edition as ‘In Ugly Debate, President Isolates Himself.’

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Trump Says ‘Both Sides’ to Blame in Charlottesville Violence

August 16, 2017

Updated Aug. 15, 2017 9:28 p.m. ET

NEW YORK—President Donald Trump, in a combative news conference on Tuesday, defended his response to the racially charged protests over the weekend, saying both sides were to blame for the clashes in Charlottesville, Va.

 

“There is blame on both sides, and I have no doubt about it,” Mr. Trump said of the confrontation between white nationalist protesters holding a demonstration in the city and the counterprotesters facing off against them.

“You had a group on one side that was bad and you had a group on the other side that was also very violent and nobody wants to say that but I’ll say it right now,” he said, adding that there were “very fine people, on both sides.”

 More on the Violence in Charlottesville

Mr. Trump’s remarks were at odds with his statement on Monday that singled out white supremacists for blame and was issued after the president faced heavy pressure for failing to do so two days earlier. One woman was killed during the violence when a car driven by an alleged white supremacist plowed into a crowd.

Explaining Tuesday why he waited to call out white nationalist groups such as the Ku Klux Klan and neo-Nazis by name, Mr. Trump said: “Before I make a statement, I need the facts.”

The news conference was his first at Trump Tower since taking office, and was the most confrontational appearance since his last news conference at his New York skyscraper on Jan. 11, when he got into a shouting match with a CNN reporter.

Although the focus of the event was on Mr. Trump’s efforts to ease regulations and speed up infrastructure projects, the inquiries from reporters were almost exclusively about Mr. Trump’s handling of the protests, and why it took him three days to single out neo-Nazis or white nationalists, who organized the weekend rally.

Out of nearly two dozen questions aimed at the president, just one was about infrastructure. He received no questions about North Korea’s recent decision to back off its threat to fire missiles at Guam, or his first trade action aimed at China, which was announced on Monday.

We must be clear. White supremacy is repulsive. This bigotry is counter to all this country stands for. There can be no moral ambiguity.

An increasingly agitated president responded by calling the counterprotesters, who included liberal activists, members of the clergy and students, the “alt-left”—a play on the term “alt-right” that is a catchall phrase for far-right groups that embrace tenets of white supremacy or reject mainstream conservatism.

He suggested there was a slippery slope from removing a statute of Civil War General Robert E. Lee, which sparked the demonstration, and scrubbing from history former Presidents George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, who owned slaves.

“What about the alt-left that came charging at the, as you say, the alt-right? Do they have any semblance of guilt?” he said. “What about the fact that they came charging with their clubs in their hands, swinging clubs? Do they have any problem? I think they do.”

The president’s comments were praised by former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke, who, on Twitter, thanked Mr. Trump for his “honor and courage to tell the truth about Charlottesville and condemn the leftist terrorists.” Mr. Duke ran for Senate as a Republican.

The tweet drew immediate rebukes from some Republicans, including U.S. Rep. Will Hurd of Texas, one of his party’s few black congressmen.

“I don’t think anybody should be looking at getting props from a grand dragon from the KKK as a definition of success,” Mr. Hurd said on CNN, adding that the president should “stick to the teleprompter and not go off the cuff.”

As a Jew, as an American, as a human, words cannot express my disgust and disappointment. This is not my President.

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R., Wis.), who has often defended Mr. Trump this year, moved quickly to separate himself from the president’s remarks at Trump Tower.

“We must be clear,” Mr. Ryan posted on Twitter. “White supremacy is repulsive. This bigotry is counter to all this country stands for. There can be no moral ambiguity.”

Sen. Brian Schatz (D., Hawaii) tweeted: “As a Jew, as an American, as a human, words cannot express my disgust and disappointment. This is not my President.”

Republican National Committee spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany tweeted that the president “once again denounced hate today. The GOP stands behind his message of love and inclusiveness!”

Following days of criticism about his handling of Charlottesville, Mr. Trump came to the news conference aggrieved about his treatment, two advisers to the president said. One said he had been “stunned” by the reaction over the past few days and was feeling “overwhelming pressure.” Mr. Trump could have parried questions by referring to his statement on Monday singling out white nationalist groups by name. Instead, he gave the most extensive public comments on the episode to date.

One adviser to the president, speaking before the news conference, said Mr. Trump was facing pressure from aides, family and friends to clarify his statement on Saturday and condemn more directly the white nationalist protesters. The danger to Mr. Trump is that divisive racial rhetoric will leave him isolated, this person said.

President @realDonaldTrump once again denounced hate today. The GOP stands behind his message of love and inclusiveness!

“Congress will run from him. Any normal person will run from him,” he said.

Mr. Trump also was asked about his chief strategist, Steve Bannon, and his future in the White House.

The president has been urged to fire Mr. Bannon by other top White House officials, some Republican lawmakers, as well as Nancy Pelosi, the top Democrat in the U.S. House. But on Tuesday, the president called Mr. Bannon a “friend” and suggested he was safe, at least for now.

Mr. Bannon, who helped steer Mr. Trump’s election victory, joined the campaign from Breitbart News, which he once described as a “platform for the alt-right.” Brietbart has published such articles as “Hoist It High And Proud: The Confederate Flag Proclaims A Glorious Heritage.”

“We’ll see what happens with Mr. Bannon, but he’s a good person,” Mr. Trump said. “He is not a racist, I can tell you that.”

Some conservatives, though, said Mr. Trump is ill-served by Mr. Bannon’s presence in the West Wing, and calls for his ouster have risen since the Charlottesville violence.

Karl Rove, a former senior official in President George W. Bush’s White House and an op-ed writer for The Wall Street Journal, said Mr. Bannon’s ideology is out of step with that of Republican and conservative thought. “I personally believe that Bannon’s mind-set is unhelpful to the president,” Mr. Rove said. “The idea of blowing up the Republican Party and helping the alt-right infiltrate the conservative movement is unhelpful to my party and my cause.”

Mr. Trump said some protesters Saturday weren’t white supremacists but people there to protest the removal of the Robert E. Lee statute.

“I’ve condemned neo-Nazis,” he said. “I’ve condemned many different groups. But not all of those people were neo-Nazis, believe me. Not all of those people were white supremacists, by any stretch. Those people were there because they wanted to protest the taking down of a statue, Robert E. Lee.”

Mr. Trump also was asked about the executives who had left White House advisory positions in the wake of his slow condemnation of white nationalists.

He said: “Because they’re not taking their jobs seriously as it pertains to this country.…They’re leaving out of embarrassment because they’re making their products outside” of the country.

Write to Michael C. Bender at Mike.Bender@wsj.com and Peter Nicholas at peter.nicholas@wsj.com

Appeared in the August 16, 2017, print edition as ‘Trump Adds Fuel to Race Furor.’

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Defiant Trump insists anew: Blame both sides for violence

August 16, 2017

The Associated Press

By JONATHAN LEMIRE and JULIE PACE

The Associated Press

Image may contain: 2 people, suit

President Donald Trump, accompanied by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, calls on a reporter while meeting the media in the lobby of Trump Tower in New York, Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2017. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais) THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

NEW YORK (AP) — Combative and insistent, President Donald Trump declared anew Tuesday “there is blame on both sides” for the deadly violence last weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia, appearing to once again equate the actions of white supremacist groups and those protesting them. He showed sympathy for the fringe groups’ efforts to preserve Confederate monuments.

The president’s comments effectively wiped away the more conventional statement he delivered at the White House a day earlier when he branded members of the KKK, neo-Nazis and white supremacists who take part in violence as “criminals and thugs.”

Trump’s advisers had hoped those remarks might quell a crush of criticism from Republicans, Democrats and business leaders. But the president’s retorts Tuesday suggested he had been a reluctant participant in that cleanup effort and renewed questions about why he seems to struggle to unequivocally condemn white nationalists.

The blowback was swift, including from fellow Republicans. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida said Trump should not allow white supremacists “to share only part of the blame.” House Speaker Paul Ryan declared in a tweet that “white supremacy is repulsive” and there should be “no moral ambiguity,” though he did not specifically address the president.

Combative and insistent, President Donald Trump declared Tuesday “there is blame on both sides” for the deadly violence last weekend in Virginia, appearing to once again equate the actions of white supremacist groups and those protesting them. (Aug. 15)

Trump’s remarks were welcomed by former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke, who tweeted, “Thank you President Trump for your honesty & courage to tell the truth.”

Violence broke out Saturday in Charlottesville, a picturesque college town, after a loosely connected mix of white nationalists, neo-Nazis and other far-right extremists assembled to protest the city’s decision to remove a towering statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee. Heather Heyer, 32, was killed when a man plowed his car into a crowd of counter-protesters.

In the immediate aftermath, Trump placed the blame on “many sides.” On Monday, at the urging of his aides, he delivered a more direct condemnation of white supremacists. But he returned to his original arguments Tuesday during an impromptu press conference in the lobby of his Manhattan skyscraper, declaring “there are two sides to a story.”

He acknowledged there were “some very bad people” looking for trouble in the group protesting plans to remove the statue. “But you also had people that were very fine people, on both sides,” he said.

Trump sided with those seeking to maintain the monument to Lee, equating him with some of the nation’s founders who also owned slaves. Confederate monuments have become rallying points for supporters of both preserving and toppling them.

“So, this week it’s Robert E. Lee,” he said. “I noticed that Stonewall Jackson’s coming down.” I wonder, is it George Washington next week and is it Thomas Jefferson the week after? You really do have to ask yourself where does it stop?”

He continued: “You’re changing history. You’re changing culture.”

The president’s comments mirrored rhetoric from the far-right fringe. A post Monday by the publisher of The Daily Stormer, a notorious neo-Nazi website, predicted that protesters are going to demand that the Washington Monument be torn down.

Trump’s handling of the weekend violence has raised new and troubling questions, even among some supporters. Members of his own Republican Party have pressured him to be more vigorous in criticizing bigoted groups, and business leaders have begun abandoning a White House jobs panel in response to his comments.

White House officials were caught off guard by his remarks Tuesday. He had signed off on a plan to not answer questions from journalists during an event touting infrastructure policies, according to a White House official not authorized to speak publicly about a private discussion. Once behind the lectern and facing the cameras, he overruled the decision.

As Trump talked, his aides on the sidelines in the lobby stood in silence. Chief of staff John Kelly crossed his arms and stared down at his shoes, barely glancing at the president. Press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders looked around the room trying to make eye contact with other senior aides. One young staffer stood with her mouth agape.

 

John F. Kelly, the White House chief of staff, on Tuesday during Mr. Trump’s news conference at Trump Tower in Manhattan. Credit Al Drago for The New York Times

Kelly was brought into the White House less than a month ago to try to bring order and stability to a chaotic West Wing. Some Trump allies hoped the retired Marine general might be able to succeed where others have failed: controlling some of Trump’s impulses. But the president’s improvisations on Tuesday once against underscored that he cannot be controlled by his advisers.

Democrats were aghast at Trump’s comments. Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine said on Twitter that the Charlottesville violence “was fueled by one side: white supremacists spreading racism, intolerance & intimidation. Those are the facts.” Sen. Brian Schatz of Hawaii said on Twitter that he no longer views Trump as his president.

“As a Jew, as an American, as a human, words cannot express my disgust and disappointment,” Schatz said. “This is not my president.”

When asked to explain his Saturday comments about Charlottesville, Trump looked down at his notes and again read a section of his initial statement that denounced bigotry but did not single out white supremacists. He then tucked the paper back into his jacket pocket.

Trump, who has quickly deemed other deadly incidents in the U.S. and around the world acts of terrorism, waffled when asked whether the car death was a terrorist attack.

“There is a question. Is it murder? Is it terrorism?” Trump said. “And then you get into legal semantics. The driver of the car is a murderer and what he did was a horrible, horrible, inexcusable thing.”

Trump said he had yet to call Heyer’s mother but would soon “reach out.” He praised her for what he said was a nice statement about him on social media.

As he finally walked away from his lectern, he stopped to answer one more shouted question: Would he visit Charlottesville? The president’s response was to note that he owned property there and to say — inaccurately — that it was one of the largest wineries in the United States.

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AP writers Darlene Superville and Richard Lardner contributed to this report. Pace reported from Washington.

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Follow Lemire at http://twitter.com/jonlemire and Pace at http://twitter.com/jpaceDC

Why are Nazis In America?

August 14, 2017

The ‘Last Week Tonight’ host didn’t hold back Sunday night.

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This weekend, the nation was fixated on the horrifying display of hate in Charlottesville, Virginia, where a group of neo-Nazis held court armed with tiki torches, military cosplay, guns, clubs, and an outrageous sense of entitlement.

These preppy fascists were said to have congregated on the University of Virginia campus to protest the removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee, but really, most of these whiny brats couldn’t tell you the first thing about the Confederate general. They came to instigate outrage, and violence. And when all was said and done, a suspected white nationalist was arrested for allegedly plowing his Dodge Challenger into a crowd of anti-racist protesters, killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer and injuring at least another 19 people.

“It was truly a weekend of horrifying images. We saw Nazi flags and marchers carrying torches—tiki torches, by the way, because nothing says ‘white nationalist’ like faux Polynesian kitsch,” said John Oliver.

The Last Week Tonight host opened his program Sunday evening by addressing the events in Charlottesville—including President Donald Trump’s rambling, insufficient reaction to the tragedy, with the commander-in-chief refusing to denounce white nationalists, slipping in President Barack Obama’s name, imploring Americans to “cherish our history” (see: Robert E. Lee’s statue), and condemning hate “on many sides.”

“We condemn, in the strongest possible terms, this egregious display of hatred, bigotry, and violence—on many sides. On many sides,” declared Trump from his Bedminster golf club.

“Wait… on many sides?!” exclaimed Oliver. “This was a white nationalist rally—you have to call that out by name. There aren’t many instances in modern American politics where you can honestly think, ‘That guy really should have mentioned the Nazis,’ but this is emphatically one of them. It’s like a reverse Godwin’s Law: if you fail to mention Nazism, you lose the argument.”

And, after “having made a wild false equivalence between Nazis and people who oppose Nazis,” Trump attempted to clear his own name, saying, “It’s been going on for a long time in our country. Not Donald Trump, not Barack Obama. It’s been going on for a long, long time.”

But this rally did have plenty to do with Donald Trump—according to the white nationalists who participated in it. In addition to white nationalists chanting things like “Heil Trump,” David Duke, a former imperial wizard of the Ku Klux Klan (whose presidential endorsement candidate Trump famously refused to disavow for several days), was interviewed in Charlottesville by a reporter.

“We are determined to take our country back. We’re going to fulfill the promises of Donald Trump. That’s what we believe in, that’s why we voted for Donald Trump,” said Duke.

“I’ve gotta say, David Duke and the Nazis really seem to like Donald Trump, which is weird because Nazis are a lot like cats: If they like you, it’s probably because you’re feeding them,” said Oliver, adding, “And that kind of connection there is something that anyone in their right mind would want to immediately and repeatedly disavow, and it’s not like Trump wasn’t given the opportunity.”

Yes, Trump was repeatedly asked to condemn the white nationalists in Charlottesville, many of whom took to the streets in his honor, as he exited his Bedminster press conference. “How do you respond to white nationalists who say they’re participating in Charlottesville because they support you?” one reporter asked. “Do you want the support of these white nationalist groups who say they support you, Mr. President?”

The questions fell on deaf ears.

“Here’s the problem with that: A non-answer in a moment like this is an answer,” said Oliver. “And look, don’t take that just from me. White nationalists seemed pretty clear about the message Trump had sent to them with his response.”

Indeed, neo-Nazi site The Daily Stormer ran a piece on Saturday praising President Trump’s vague speech. “Trump comments were good… He said he loves us all. Also refused to answer a question about white nationalists supporting him. No condemnation at all. When asked to condemn, he just walked out of the room. Really, really good. God bless him,” they wrote.

“And look, maybe Trump will eventually take a second swing at personally condemning the white nationalists. Maybe he has since we’ve taped this show. But even if he does, it’ll be too late. Because his first response is who he is. And the truly infuriating thing is how predictable this was,” offered Oliver.

“It simply doesn’t get easier than disavowing Nazis. It’s as much of a presidential gimme as pardoning a fucking turkey. It is almost impossible to screw it up. But that’s exactly what happened,” the comedian continued. “So there is clearly no point waiting for leadership from our president in moments like this, because it is just not coming, which means we will have to look to one another, because incredibly, in a country where previous presidents have actually had to defeat Nazis, we now have one who cannot even be bothered to fucking condemn them.”

http://www.thedailybeast.com/john-oliver-accuses-trump-of-feeding-the-charlottesville-nazis

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‘Why are these Nazis able to come into our city?’ Charlottesville left in shock after day of violence

At the scene where a suspected far-right extremist mowed down anti-fascist protesters in Charlottesville, local resident Anna Quillom spent Sunday laying dozens of carnations along the street.

“I grew up here but this doesn’t feel like my home anymore. The lid’s come off it,” said Miss Quillom, 36, who runs wine tours in the historic college town. Welling up with tears, she added: “It was the best place in the world, inclusive, everyone cares about each other. Why are these Nazis able to come into our city?”

Nearby, at a makeshift memorial, a sign read “No Place For Hate!” A red shoe, lost by one of the victims, had been stuffed with roses.

 A mourner lays flowers at a makeshift memorial at the scene of where a car plowed into counter-protesters in Charlottesville
 A mourner lays flowers at a makeshift memorial at the scene of where a car plowed into counter-protesters in Charlottesville CREDIT: JUSTIN IDE/REUTERS

Charlottesville, a town of 47,000 with a university very much at its heart, was shattered by Saturday’s events when hundreds of racist extremists descended and violence erupted.

In the high street, dotted with book and antique shops, people appeared stunned….

Read the rest:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/08/13/nazis-able-come-city-charlottesville-left-shock-day-violence/

Trump Pressed to Disavow White-Nationalist Groups After Virginia Attack

August 14, 2017

Charlottesville violence shines a light on groups that have backed the president

Charlottesville residents on Sunday viewed a street memorial for the victim of Saturday's attack on those protesting a white-nationalist demonstration.
Charlottesville residents on Sunday viewed a street memorial for the victim of Saturday’s attack on those protesting a white-nationalist demonstration. PHOTO: SCOTT P. YATES FOR THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

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Aug. 13, 2017 7:53 p.m. ET

President Donald Trump, in the wake of deadly weekend violence at a white-supremacy rally in Virginia, is facing pressure to break decisively with such nationalist groups that largely backed his campaign and presidency, or risk a fraying of his fragile governing coalition.

The rally erupted in violence in Charlottesville on Saturday, and a woman was killedwhen a driver allegedly mowed down a group that had gathered to counter messages from the white nationalists, some of whom were self-described Nazi sympathizers. Dozens were injured in the car attack; later, two state troopers monitoring the demonstrations were killed when their helicopter crashed.

The president initially said the altercations came from “many sides” of the event, which leaders from both parties said seemed to improperly spread blame equally between the white nationalists and the counterprotesters.

Then on Sunday the White House issued a statement saying Mr. Trump “condemns all forms of violence, bigotry and hatred and of course that includes white supremacists, KKK, neo-Nazi and all extremist groups.”

Mr. Trump’s eldest daughter, White House senior adviser Ivanka Trump, said in a tweet Sunday: “There should be no place in society for racism, white supremacy and neo-Nazis.”

White nationalists flocked to Mr. Trump early in his candidacy and even before then, when he became a central figure in falsely questioning whether former President Barack Obama was born in the U.S. During his presidency, such fringe groups have become increasingly vocal.

For example, Mr. Trump’s Saturday comments were cited on the neo-Nazi website the Daily Stormer as evidence of “no condemnation at all” of such groups by the president.

That dynamic is causing friction between Mr. Trump and many leaders of the Republican Party whom Mr. Trump now needs to advance his agenda in Congress.

“I would urge the president to dissuade these groups that he’s their friend,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.) told “Fox News Sunday.”

Pointed condemnations of such groups also came Saturday from GOP leaders like House Speaker Paul Ryan as well as Senate conservatives such as Ted Cruz of Texas and Orrin Hatch of Utah.

“We should call evil by its name,” Mr. Hatch said on Twitter. “My brother didn’t give his life fighting Hitler for Nazi ideas to go unchallenged here at home.”

Other Republicans sought a middle ground between denouncing their party leader and seeming unwilling to single out racists and neo-Nazis.

“I stand with President Trump and leaders from both parties condemning these actions and encourage Americans to stand together in opposition to those who encourage hate or promote violence,” said Sen. Luther Strange of Alabama.

The Virginia clash has also re-focused attention on the White House role of Steve Bannon, who helped steer Mr. Trump’s election victory. Mr. Bannon joined the campaign from Breitbart News, which he once described as a “platform for the alt-right.”

The alt-right is shorthand for the “alternative right,” a loose agglomeration of groups with far-right ideologies, some of which embrace the tenets of white supremacy, while others consider themselves rebels against mainstream Republicans.

Over the past seven months, Mr. Bannon has fallen in and out of favor with the president, advisers to Mr. Trump have said, and in the wake of the Charlottesville episode, some of Mr. Trump’s supporters want to see his influence curtailed.

Anthony Scaramucci, who did a brief stint as White House communications director, appeared on ABC’s “This Week” Sunday and decried what he called the “Bannon-bart influence” in the White House, a mashup of Mr. Bannon’s name and the news site he used to run.

“I think the president knows what he’s going to do with Steve Bannon,” said Mr. Scaramucci.

Mr. Bannon declined to comment.

Throughout history, race has proved the most combustible domestic issue presidents have confronted.

In the modern era, John F. Kennedy faced down Southern insistence on segregated schools, while his successor, Lyndon Johnson, ushered in landmark civil-rights legislation. Mr. Obama, as the first black president, entered office with hopes of bridging the gap between the races only to find divisions hardening over his two terms.

Many white nationalists made themselves known at Mr. Trump’s rallies last year, although some took pains to conceal their affiliation for fear that it would embarrass his campaign. At a convocation of white nationalists in Tennessee last year, various attendees identified themselves as Trump campaign volunteers but said they kept secret their affiliation even from some fellow supporters.

“White nationalists were suspicious of candidate Trump in the early part of his campaign, but they were won over by a steady stream of signaling from the campaign, and later from the administration,” said J.M. Berger, who studies extremist ideologies and is a fellow with the International Centre for Counter-Terrorism—The Hague.

Now, though, white nationalist groups are closely watching Mr. Trump’s response to the crisis. They say they weren’t the ones to start the fighting.

Jared Taylor, editor of the white nationalist website American Renaissance, said that virtually all the violence between such groups were caused by counterprotesters.

“Whenever these confrontations take place, it’s where pro-white groups try to have a rally,” said Mr. Taylor, who said he wasn’t at the Charlottesville demonstration. “You will notice that pro-white groups never make a fuss or demonstrate when other groups have meetings that stand for things they abhor.”

David Duke, a former Ku Klux Klan leader, in response to a Trump tweet Saturday calling for unity and condemning “hate,” tweeted in reply: “I would recommend you take a good look in the mirror & remember it was White Americans who put you in the presidency, not radical leftists.”

As a candidate, Mr. Trump’s campaign said it didn’t rely on white nationalists to win. “The President has never considered this fringe to be part of his coalition,” said Michael Caputo, a former Trump campaign aide.

But some critics said that, as a candidate, he didn’t denounce such supporters in unequivocal terms. They also said messages from the campaign seemed aimed at a white nationalist audience.

In a CNN interview in early 2016, Mr. Trump was asked about Mr. Duke’s expressions of support. “I don’t know anything about David Duke,” he said. “I don’t know anything about what you’re even talking about with white supremacy or white supremacists.”

In subsequent interviews and media appearances, he renounced the support of white supremacists and Mr. Duke in particular.

“David Duke is a bad person who I disavowed on numerous occasions over the years,” Mr. Trump said on MSNBC in March 2016.

Democrats, for their part, saw the Virginia episode as evidence of the Trump-era Republican Party as beholden to extremists.

“The President’s talk of violence ‘on many sides’ ignores the shameful reality of white supremacism in our country today, and continues a disturbing pattern of complacency around such acts of hate,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) said in a statement.

With images from Charlottesville dominating cable TV coverage, Mr. Trump is at a crossroads, Mr. Berger said.

“So the next few days will be crucial,” he said. “President Trump is facing substantial political pressure to make a stronger statement about white nationalist violence.”

Write to Peter Nicholas at peter.nicholas@wsj.com

Appeared in the August 14, 2017, print edition as ‘Virginia Clash Tests Trump.’

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Donald Trump’s Charlottesville Comments Draw the Attention of Cartoonists

August 13, 2017

Image may contain: one or more people and closeup

BY HAGAY HACOHEN, SHOSHANA KRANISH
The Jerusalem Post
 AUGUST 13, 2017 07:58

 

After violent clashes in Charlottesville in which one woman died, US president denounced violence ‘on many sides.’

US President Donald Trump holds a rally with supporters in an arena in Youngstown, Ohio, US July 2

US President Donald Trump holds a rally with supporters in an arena in Youngstown, Ohio, US July 25, 2017. (photo credit:REUTERS)

In a televised announcement, Trump told reporters that he condemned the “hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides.” Trump’s decision not to specifically condemn the white supremacy rally where the violence occurred has earned him scorn.

We must remember this truth: No matter our color, creed, religion or political party, we are ALL AMERICANS FIRST.

John Cole, a Pennsylvania-based editorial cartoonist, tweeted four drawings. One depicted a man wearing a ‘Make America Great Again’ hat – a hallmark of Trump’s campaign and presidency – with a Hitler-esque mustache, standing in front of an American flag while performing a Nazi salute. Another showed Trump standing in front of a crowd of KKK members and other assumed white supremacists, with his arms opened to a Black couple, encouraging them to join him. One of the cartoons was a play on the film The Producers, in which a Jewish accountant helps produce a play about the ‘happy home life of Hitler.’

View image on TwitterView image on TwitterView image on TwitterView image on Twitter

I’ve drawn a few cartoons about @POTUS‘ normalization of white nationalism/neo-nazism. Here are a few. 

Trump’s statement that ”we are all Americans” drew criticism from many people.

The original rally, called ”Unite the Right,” was headlined by prominent white nationalists and neo-Nazis, including Richard Spencer and Jason Kessler. The organizers called the protest against what they saw was an infringement on the rights of white Americans, and a perceived special treatment of people of color and immigrants. The organizers also made explicit their support of the confederacy movement, a modern reincarnation of the original Confederacy.

The Confederacy was a union of slave-holding states that sought to secede from the United States, which led to the American Civil War.

Virginia was an important state in the Confederacy and throughout the South, the memory of the Civil War is a complex issue that deals with states’ rights, racial relations, and politics.

One of the more famous cartoons associated with the alt-right and the neo-Nazi movement during Trump’s campaign was Pepe the Frog, who reportedly made a few appearances at this weekend’s rally.

An alt-right protestor holds a sign depicting Pepe the Frog

An alt-right protestor holds a sign depicting Pepe the Frog
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