Carlottesville last year.Zach D Roberts/NurPhoto via ZUMA
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On August 11, 2017, white supremacists invaded Charlottesville, Virginia, and held a torchlight rally dedicated to hatred of all people of color. The next day, things turned violent. More than 30 people were injured and one of the white supremacists drove a car into the crowd, killing Heather Heyer, one of the counter-protesters. President Trump lamented the “hatred, bigotry, and violence on many sides” and later insisted that there were “very fine people on both sides.
Today, on the anniversary of the original rally, the same group of white supremacists is holding a rally in Washington DC right outside the White House. President Trump bothered only with a tweet, saying roughly the same thing he said last year: “I condemn all types of racism and acts of violence” and “Peace to ALL Americans!” As before, he made no particular distinction between the white supremacists and the counterprotesters.
The reaction of nearly every Republican to Trump’s repeat performance was: nothing. A few made comments of their own, but almost none had even the mildest criticism of Trump.
This comes after yet another a year of Trump’s casual—but always deniable—racism, aimed variously at black athletes, football players protesting police brutality, the usual attacks on undocumented immigrants, and so forth. Everybody knows what Trump is doing, and everyone seems to be OK with it.
This is what truly sets the party of Trump apart from the GOP of the past. Sure, they’ve been chasing the white vote for a long time. But until now, they were basically a sister party of the Christian Democrats in Germany or the Tories in Great Britain. Today, they’re a lot closer to being a sister party to UKIP or the National Front in France. It’s revolting.