So, Trump’s Charlottesville gaffe was not a gaffe after all. He really is a bigot. As if we didn’t know.
If his latest tweets, which re-circulate three anti-Muslim videos issued by a notorious hate group in Britain, and of doubtful authenticity at that, do not support the claim of racism, then what would? Trump personally throwing a Muslim out of a Trump Tower window? How about Trump endorsing a racist candidate – and accused paedophile – for the special senatorial election in Alabama?
You will recall that Trump’s response back in September to the demonstration in Charlottesville, Virginia, organised by white supremacist and neo-Nazi groups, ostensibly to protest the removal of a Robert E. Lee statue, and attacked by anti-racist counter-demonstrators, was to blame ‘both sides’. He held to this view for days, despite a groundswell of opinion in moderate political circles, including those of the Republican persuasion, that he was duty-bound to condemn the organised march as needlessly provocative and anti-American.
Prime Minister Theresa May has condemned the Trump tweets, though not nearly forcefully enough, in the view of her domestic critics. Well, maybe she might decently have gone further, but the United Kingdom does have to keep the United States on-side if we are going to be entering trade negotiations before long. So, politics being if nothing else the art of the practical, whatever the moral issue, it has to be “You are naughty, Donald” rather than “Donald, you are a jerk, an ingrate and a disgrace to your office”.
Either way, nobody can seriously believe that Trump cares a jot what Britain thinks. Trump does not care what anyone thinks unless they are agreeing with him, preferably in the most effusive terms – like the ones his well-trained poodle Mike Pence usually trots out on occasions such as these – although it has to be said that the poodle has been unusually bark-less of late.
Hardly a week goes by without Trump revealing his core political beliefs. Presidents are supposed, in the words of a predecessor, to appeal to the better angels of our nature. Trump unfailingly appeals to the worst devils. That he does so for a purely political purpose – to maintain the allegiance of his core supporters out in the American heartlands – makes the habit less rather than more excusable.
And since Trump insists on, indeed revels in, dividing rather than uniting a nation – and the more controversially, the more to his liking – then the opprobrium of his critics should recognise no boundaries of decorum either.
That may play into his hands, but the alternative is silence. Who can honourably be silent about this ignorant and vile man?
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