When President Donald Trump posts to Twitter, the world listens. Thus, concern was widespread when yet again after a national tragedy — this time the shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue that left 11 dead — within hours he was back to fiddling around on Twitter like there was nothing to be concerned about. Morning Joe‘s Joe Scarborough called his late Saturday night Twitter message about the then-ongoing World Series a message to white nationalists that he doesn’t mind their behavior and has essentially got their back.
‘That was done intentionally to send a message to white nationalists. This doesn’t bug me that much, I’m going to watch a baseball game, I’m going to tweet about baseball. I’m not going to let it occupy my day.’
Among the facts of the situation is that the Pittsburgh shooter’s actions have a clear underpinning in the president’s own, more explicit remarks. He’s claimed, without legitimate evidence, that outside political interests are funding a migrant “caravan” currently making its way to the United States. Some on the right — including the shooter in question — have believed those interests to be Jews.
In other words, the president deciding to tweet about a sports tournament like he’s got nothing better to do is somewhat like salt in the wound he’s inflicted.
‘His staff will give him pretty words to go out and read. He will half-heartedly read them and immediately go back on that because you can see, time and time again, he always has to send the message to white nationalists, “I’m not going to criticize you. I may not be on your side, I won’t say that, but I want you to stay on my side.”‘
After the Pittsburgh shooting, the president’s staff certainly did give him “pretty words” to read, with teleprompter-driven assertions that the shooter was evil and there’s no place for anti-Semitism in the United States.
While those sentiments certainly remain true, there’s little comfort in them coming from the president who’s helped enact the anti-Semitism.
Besides some of his jabs, like the incorporation of a longtime Nazi insult for Jews into his nickname for Jewish reporter Chuck Todd, he’s opened the door to white nationalism through some high profile means. In perhaps the most infamous example, after a weekend of violence last year in Virginia involving neo-Nazis and the like, the president asserted that there were “very fine people” on both sides.
Following his refusal to single out white nationalists, prominent racist Andrew Anglin, who founded the neo-Nazi website The Daily Stormer, proudly proclaimed:
‘He didn’t attack us… [He] implied that there was hate… on both sides. So he implied the antifa are haters. There was virtually no counter-signaling of us all.’
In other words, there definitely remains a precedent for white nationalists finding comfort in the president’s remarks. Yet, White House staffers like Sarah Huckabee Sanders continue to demean concerned outsiders for pointing out the connections between the president, his rhetoric, and recent violence anyway. Reality won’t go away.
Featured Image via Screenshot from the Video