If this feels different, it’s because it is.
Never in modern American history has a president so elevated the forces of hate, or so bastardized and mangled the country’s past. Never has a president looked at a display as malevolent and disgusting as the torch-fueled march Friday night in Charlottesville and refused to condemn it, saying “there are two sides to a story.”
In a week in which the leader of the free world gave comfort to people shouting “Jews won’t replace us,” we have to ask, what kind of country are we?
At a news conference Tuesday, one day after reading off a teleprompter a canned and insincere refutation of white nationalism, President Trump showed us what he really thinks.
Speaking extemporaneously, Trump more strongly repeated his initial claim that blame for the violence in Charlottesville was “on both sides,” as if who is in the right – the Nazis calling for a racially pure country, or those who oppose them in the name of true American values – is up for discussion.
Trump didn’t come out and say that white nationalists have a friend in the White House, but he didn’t have to. After decades in which any association with Nazis was a ticket out of public life, having the president mimic their talking points was more than they could have ever hoped for.