Donald Trump and the Nazis

Anti-Nazi demonstration in Pittsburgh in solidarity with Charlottesville victims

The latest tragedy in Charlottesville, Virginia can be laid at the doorstep of Donald Trump‘s White House. After a terrorist attack by a white supremacist at a neo-Nazi rally that left one counter-protester, Heather Heyer, dead and multiple people wounded (two Virginia state troopers were also killed when their helicopter crashed on the way to the scene), Trump could not condemn the right wing hate. Instead, shockingly, he said:

We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence, on many sides. On many sides.

Obviously, there are not “many sides” to the white supremacist hate on parade in Charlottesville. There were the bigoted haters, some of them armed, and the people who came out to protest against them. The terrorist, James Fields, even chose the same method of driving a vehicle into a crowd of civilians as is used in other terrorist incidents. Even web hosting company GoDaddy has dumped white supremacist website the Daily Stormer, after the site posted a vicious attack on Heather Heyer which followed its promotion of the Charlottesville rally.

Unfortunately, Donald Trump has a long history with bigotry of the type that took place in Charlottesville. His father, Fred Trump, was arrested at a Ku Klux Klan riot in New York in 1927. In 1973, the U.S. Department of Justice sued the Trump family real estate company (including Donald Trump and his father) for racial discrimination in their housing rentals. Reportedly, the Trumps would not rent to black people.

Likewise, Donald Trump’s involvement in politics during Barack Obama‘s presidency consisted of joining and promoting the racist “birther” movement, which questioned Obama’s American birth and accused Obama of being born in Kenya. Trump then began his presidential campaign in 2015 by attacking Mexican immigrants as “rapists” who are “bringing drugs” and “bringing crime,” and by saying he wanted to build a wall to keep them out. One of Trump’s first actions once inside the White House was again to go after “others,” this time travelers (including refugees) from Muslim countries. Trump also hired Stephen BannonSebastian Gorka and Stephen Miller to work in his White House. Bannon ran the Breitbart website that trades in bigotry and misogyny, and is identified with much of the conspiracy and hate mongering coming from the Trump White House. Gorka also hails from Breitbart and wears the pin of a right wing Hungarian organization associated with the Nazis. Miller just recently attacked the Statue of Liberty in a way that mirrors the words of white supremacists.

It’s no wonder that right wing extremists, including former KKK leader David Duke, cite their affinity for Donald Trump. By not specifically denouncing their hateful statements and actions in Charlottesville, Trump lets them take off their hoods and bring their racism and bigotry out into the open. Trump has had plenty of opportunities to be a uniter, but time and time again, he is proving himself to be The Great Divider.

Photo by Mark Dixon, used under Creative Commons license.

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