President Donald Trump lashed back at Sen. Lindsey Graham in a tweet, calling out the South Carolinian for falsely portraying his remarks about racism and bigotry so that it seems he supports the KKK.
Isn’t it bad enough that Trump has to correct the media for misstatements all the time? But he also has to clarify what those in own party are putting out that paint him with a black brush?
Here’s what Graham said, when asked about Trump’s response to Charlottesville: “[This president] took a step backward by again suggesting there is moral equivalency between the white supremacist neo-Nazis and KKK members who attended the Charlottesville rally and people like [killed Heather] Heyer. I, along with many others, do not endorse this moral equivalency.”
Nice. Except — Trump didn’t.
Trump, in his initial response to Charlottesville, said he condemned rally-tied hatred and violence “on many sides.” He didn’t specifically name white supremacists. On Monday, Trump named white supremacists specifically as targets of his repulsion. On Tuesday, he again blamed “both sides” for the violence.
And it’s that aspect of Trump’s remarks that has the media, the left, and even the Republican Party, outraged. The only acceptable line, post-Charlottesville, seems to be one that condemns white supremacists — not one that ropes in the violent counterprotesters of the far left who flocked to the Virginia city.
Not one that suggests a recognition of the years of violent protests this country has seen from the likes of Black Lives Matter and Hands Up, Don’t Shoot campaigns.
Not one that suggests awareness of concerted “Resistance Summer” operations, or anti-Trumper rallies that have resulted in such non-peaceful demonstrations as business window smashings, car burnings, clashes with police.
Forget all that.
The fact Trump has strayed from the message the left wants put forth right now — the one that says white supremacists are evil, and therefore have no business exercising their First Amendment rights, and therefore the statues they want to keep in place are inherently racist and must go — sets him squarely in the corral of racism.
Since Trump doesn’t denounce simply white supremacy, but rather all racism and ugliness and violence — even when it comes from the left’s corner — that means he’s a white supremacist sympathizer.
Or, as Graham puts it — that means Trump draws a moral equivalency between the innocent and the wicked.
It’s not a fair characterization to make. And it’s one Trump called out, true to form, on Twitter.
“Publicity seeking Lindsey Graham falsely stated that I said there is moral equivalency between the KKK, neo-Nazis & white supremacists …” Trump tweeted.
And he followed with this one: “…and people like Ms. Heyer. Such a disgusting lie. He just can’t forget his election trouncing. The people of South Carolina will remember!”
Trump added one more tweet: “The public is learning (even more so_ how dishonest the Fake News is. They totally misrepresent what I say about hate, bigotry, etc. Shame!”
It is a shame — most particularly because in the middle of all this political pandering, media bashing and skewing, and fiery rhetoric, what’s being forgotten is this key point: America’s history is rapidly being crumbled, one monument at a time. And that’s a destruction from which our nation may never recover.