Trump's Speech Fails to Condemn Violence of his Alt-Right Supporters
August 14, 2017 David Boddiger / SplinterNers & Al Jazeera & Sarah Wildman / Vox
Commentaries: "Whether or not President Trump is a straight-up racist or simply doesn't want to alienate his white supremacist base no longer matters. Because his response to Saturday's domestic terrorist attack that killed at least one person and injured 19 others leaves no doubt about which side he is on." "We are seeing the beginning of white supremacist movement in the US." In Warsaw, Poland, Donald Trump issued a battle cry that resorted to rhetorical conceits typically used by the European and US alt-right.
Trump Refuses to Condemn Violent White Supremacists After Charlottesville Terrorist Attack David Boddiger / SplinterNers
(August 12, 2017) -- Whether or not President Trump is a straight-up racist or simply doesn't want to alienate his white supremacist base no longer matters. Because his response to Saturday's domestic terrorist attack that killed at least one person and injured 19 others leaves no doubt about which side he is on.
Trump had the chance to at least pretend to be presidential by leading the nation during one of its darkest moments -- although it is a moment he personally helped to create. But instead of strongly denouncing the racism, bigotry, hate, and awful violence of Saturday's white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, VA, by directly assigning blame, the president -- perhaps the single most powerful politician in the world -- used vague, coded language that white supremacists can now use to claim victory.
With a nation in shock, the president of the United States used his moment in front of the cameras to praise himself and mention the name of President Barack Obama, a man he once disgracefully claimed was not born in the U.S.
It was a disturbing press conference that highlighted a horrible day.
Al Jazeera, August 12, 2017
Speaking at a pre-arranged press conference in Bedminster, New Jersey, where Trump is still on a "working vacation," the president stated the following (emphasis mine) before exiting without fielding strong questions from the press:
We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry, and violence on many sides, on many sides. It's been going on for a long time in our country. Not Donald Trump, not Barack Obama. It's been going on for a long, long time. It has no place in America.
What is vital now is a swift restoration of law and order and the protection of innocent lives. No citizen should ever fear for their safety and security in our society. And no child should ever be afraid to go outside and play or be with their parents and have a good time.
I just got off the phone with the governor of Virginia, Terry McAuliffe, and we agree that the hate and the division must stop, and must stop right now. We have to come together as Americans with love for our nation and true affection, really, and I say this so strongly, true affection for each other.
Our country is doing very well in so many ways. We have record, just absolute record employment. We have unemployment the lowest it's been in almost 17 years. We have companies pouring into our country, Foxconn and car companies and so many others. They're coming back to our country. We're renegotiating trade deals to make them great for our country and great for the American worker. We have so many incredible things happening in our country, so when I watch Charlottesville, to me it's very, very sad.
I want to salute the great work of the state and local police in Virginia. Incredible people. Law enforcement, incredible people. And also the National Guard. They've really been working smart and working hard. They've been doing a terrific job.
Federal authorities are also providing tremendous support to the governor. He thanked me for that. And we are here to provide whatever other assistance is needed. We are ready, willing and able.
Above all else, we must remember this truth: No matter our color, creed, religion, or political party, we are all Americans first. We love our country. We love our God. We love our flag. We're proud of our country. We're proud of who we are. So, we want to get the situation straightened out in Charlottesville, and we want to study it. And we want to see what we're doing wrong as a country where things like this can happen.
My administration is restoring the sacred bonds of loyalty between this nation and its citizens, but our citizens must also restore the bonds of trust and loyalty between one another. We must love each other, respect each other, and cherish our history and our future together -- so important. We have to respect each other. Ideally, we have to love each other. 'We Are Seeing the Beginning of
White Supremacist Movement' in US Al Jazeera English
(August 13, 2017) -- 'We are seeing the beginning of white supremacist movement' in US. A gathering of hundreds of white supremacists in Virginia took a deadly turn on Saturday when a car plowed into a group of counter-protesters and killed at least one person.
The state's governor blamed neo-Nazis for sparking the unrest in the college town of Charlottesville, where rival groups fought pitched battles using rocks and pepper spray after far-right protesters converged to demonstrate against a plan to remove a statue to a Confederate war hero.
US President Donald Trump has been criticised by the Democratic and Republican parties over his allegedly tepid response to Saturday's attack. Khalil Gibran Muhammad, a professor of history, race and public policy at Harvard Kennedy School, talks to Al Jazeera about the flare-up of racism-fueled violence. Trump's Speech in Poland
Sounded Like an Alt-right Manifesto "For family, for freedom, for country, and for God." Sarah Wildman / Vox
(July 6, 2016) -- This morning in Warsaw, Poland, President Donald Trump issued a battle cry -- for "family, for freedom, for country, and for God" -- in a speech that often resorted to rhetorical conceits typically used by the European and American alt-right. It sounded, at times, not just like the populists of the present but the populists of the past.
Drafted by Steve Miller, the architect of the travel ban, Trump's speech used the type of dire, last-chance wording often utilized by the far right on both sides of the Atlantic: "The fundamental question of our time is whether the West has the will to survive."
"Do we have the confidence in our values to defend them at any cost?" Trump asked. "Do we have enough respect for our citizens to protect our borders? Do we have the desire and the courage to preserve our civilization in the face of those who would subvert and destroy it?"
Trump arrived in Warsaw Wednesday night for a 16-hour visit in the runup to the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany. Poland was a less-than-obvious choice for Trump's first major public European speech. Typically, American presidents land in London, Paris, or Berlin before Eastern Europe.
But Trump has been at odds with German Chancellor Angela Merkel over everything from climate change to migrant policy, and French President Emmanuel Macron has also positioned himself as a counterweight to the conservative American administration. The Polish leadership, on the other hand, seems to have more in common with Trump's vision.
In his address, Trump cast the West, including the United States and Europe, on the side of "civilization." With an undercurrent of bellicosity, he spoke of protecting borders, casting himself as a defender not just of territory but of Western "values." And, using the phrase he had avoided on his trip to Saudi Arabia, he insisted that in the fight against "radical Islamic terrorism," the West "will prevail."
Again and again, Trump held up Poland as an example, saying their history reminds the world that "the defense of the West ultimately rests not only on means but also on the will of the people to prevail." He recalled the story of the Warsaw uprising against the Nazis in 1944: "The West," he said, "was saved with the blood of patriots."
That battle, the president seemed to say, is ongoing. He called on a new generation to rise up, saying "every last inch of civilization is worth defending with your life."
"Just as Poland could not be broken, I declare today for the world to hear that the West will never, ever be broken," Trump said. "Our values will prevail, our people will thrive, and our civilization will triumph."
He did not mention that in 1944, the Polish patriots, while valiant, were not, ultimately, the saviors of the state. Nor did he note that Europeans widely see the Polish ruling party of today, which has tried to clamp down on the media and judiciary, as itself a threat to Western values.
Some 90,000 Poles marched against the Polish government in early May, protesting its anti-democratic trajectory. That Poland was absent in Trump's speech.
Trump addressed Russia, and NATO, but
the real takeaway of the speech was its tenor
In his speech, Trump also addressed Russia, in advance of his highly anticipated meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin later this week.
He urged Russia "to cease its destabilizing activities in Ukraine and elsewhere" and "its support for hostile regimes including Syria and Iran," and to join the "community of responsible nations in our fight against common enemies in defense of civilization itself."
He also affirmed the US commitment to NATO's Article 5, the assurance that each member will defend the others, on European soil. His failure to endorse that clause on his previous visit to Europe in May had angered traditional US allies. (He later did so, on US soil, but he had yet to do so in Europe.)
As expected, Trump also doubled down on his insistence that NATO allies pull their weight economically, and praised Poland for already giving 2 percent of its GDP.
But it was his insistent thread that recalled theories of a clash of civilizations that will be the primary takeaway from this speech. He was met with cheers throughout. Earlier in the week, the Associated Press reported that the audience was largely hand-selected in advance by the Polish ruling party, which brought in supporters by bus to ensure a large crowd.
Earlier in the day, Trump bashed the media and
offered insight into foreign policy decisions in the making
Trump's speech came after a joint press conference held with Polish President Andrzej Duda, during which the American president called CNN "fake news" and said what he would like to see is "honest" and "fair press" because fake news was a "bad thing, very bad for our country."
At the same press conference, Trump told traveling press that hacking might have come from Russia in the 2016 presidential elections but "nobody really knows for sure."
"I think it was Russia," he said, "and I think it could've been other people."
And asked about North Korea's missile testing, he said there would be "consequences" for their "very, very bad behavior." But he did not specify what those consequences would be outside of "some pretty severe things."
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