Donald Trump Is Following His Usual White Nationalist Playbook

Donald Trump’s appeal to white nationalists is following his usual playbook:

President Donald Trump bowed to overwhelming pressure that he personally condemn white supremacists who incited bloody demonstrations in Charlottesville, Va., over the weekend — labeling their racist views “evil” after two days of equivocal statements.

“Racism is evil,” Mr. Trump said. “And those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs, including the K.K.K., neo-Nazis, white supremacists and other hate groups that are repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans.”

Trump refused to explicitly condemn neo-Nazis and white nationalists for two days, and there’s no question that his fans got the message: “He didn’t attack us. He just said the nation should come together,” wrote the Daily Stormer’s Andrew Anglin. “No condemnation at all. When asked to condemn, he just walked out of the room. Really, really good. God bless him.”

Today Trump grimly recited a prepared text from a teleprompter, but did so under such obvious pressure that his white nationalist fans understand he’s just playing a role. This is exactly the way he handled the David Duke controversy last year: weasel words for a couple of days, followed by an obviously insincere condemnation under heavy pressure. Now, of course, it’s time to move forward, let the healing begin, and stop arguing about who killed whom. While we’re at it, though, you may be sure that Trump is making absolutely sure that his white supporters understand that nothing has really changed:


Wink wink, nudge nudge.

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