President Trump held a press conference on Tuesday blaming both neo-Nazis and white supremacists, along with the “alt-left,” for the violence that occurred in Charlottesville, VA on Saturday, after Klu Klux Klan members and other white supremacists held a protest and clashed with anti-protesters. The remarks came a day after Trump explicitly condemned groups such as the KKK, prompted by outrage over his deafening silence on the matter for two days following the event.
“I think there is blame on both sides,” President Trump said in a combative exchange with reporters at Trump Tower in Manhattan. “You had a group on one side that was bad. You had a group on the other side that was also very violent. Nobody wants to say that. I’ll say it right now.”
Trump went as far as to say that not all the protestors belonging to neo-Nazi groups were bad individuals. He said, “I’ve condemned neo-Nazis. I’ve condemned many different groups,” he said. “Not all of those people were neo-Nazis, believe me. Not all of those people were white supremacists by any stretch.”
Not only is it mind-boggling to hear any kind of sympathy associated with individuals that marched with white supremacist groups, but to draw parallels between Trump’s self-proclaimed “alt-left” and the white supremacist groups is a different level of delusion.
There is no moral equivalency between neo-Nazis and groups such as the Black Lives Matter movement. Period.
Trump stated he waited to make an official statement because he wanted to know all the facts. I advise the president to actually listen to what some of those “good people” said while they were protesting. Here are some of the terms that white supremacist groups chanted:
• “Jews will not replace us.”
• “Blood and Soil” This specifically refers to a Nazi philosophy which emphasized pure ethnic descent, which Nazis believed symbolized their Aryan lineage.
• “White lives matter”
• “Fuck you faggots”
• “Hail Cantwell.” Protestors were referring to Christopher Cantwell, a white nationalist and a Unite the Right speaker. The term hail had also been used as a Nazi salute and greeting towards Adolf Hitler during Nazi Germany. Think: “Heil Hitler.”
Many individuals were even carrying the Confederate flag and flags with swastikas on them. But if Donald Trump needs more evidence, Cantwell provided it in an interview with Vice.
After admitting that he is trying to make himself more capable of violence, he said, “I’m here to spread ideas and talk in the hopes that somebody more capable (of violence) will come along to do that. Someone like Donald Trump (but), who does not give his daughter to a Jew. A lot more racist than Donald Trump. I don’t think you can feel about race the way I do, and watch that Kushner bastard walk around with that beautiful girl.”
How can this kind of rhetoric ever be justified? What will Donald Trump say to everyone these hate groups attack? What will he say to Jewish Americans? To African Americans? To LGBT people? To all other people of color?
There are two sides to every argument. But one side is fighting oppression, racism and advocating for the equality of all human beings regardless of race or religion. The other side-white supremacist groups-demands an ethnically white, Christian nation and the removal or oppression of all non-white individuals. The two cannot be compared when one side advocates for the complete degradation of the other.
Trump said not all the protestors were white supremacists or Neo- Nazis, but at the end of the day, even if some of the protestors don’t harbor Neo-Nazi ideologies, they still decided to stand by flags with swastikas on it.
Never forget that the swastika during Nazi Germany was a symbol of hatred and genocide. Chemical weapons, specifically cyanide gas, were used against six million Jews through large-scale gas chambers designed for mass killing in concentrations camps, as part of a genocidal program. If you stand by that, you are wrong, no matter what your intentions are as a protestor. The moral equivalency does not exist.