Donald J Trump can’t help himself. When offered the opportunity to dig himself out of a hole he chooses to dig deeper. Worse, when someone throws him a rope he pulls it down into the hole with him; and then sets it on fire. Yesterday’s impromptu press conference addressing the bloody, political violence in the American city of Charlottesville, Virginia, saw the president walk back from previous remarks unequivocally condemning Far Right demonstrators for the trouble. Instead he has returned to the old mantra of blaming “both” sides for the clashes, with the insinuation that the “left” is the real culprit. Perhaps the former New York businessman genuinely believes that his reactionary electoral base is ten times larger than it is and he needs to keep it onside? Or perhaps he has simply been watching too much Fox News coverage of the controversy over the last few days? Whatever the case, this is not going to end well.
Update: It occurs to me, spinning off a Comment below, that Donald Trump’s explanation for the Far-Right violence in Charlottesville is eerily similar to the sort of statements issued by unionist and British politicians in relation to violence by pro-UK terrorists in the north-east of Ireland during the course of the Long War or so-called Troubles. Again and again, one would hear representatives of the Democratic Unionist Party and Ulster Unionist Party in the Six Counties, or the Conservative Party in Britain, condemn the terrorism of the Loyalist factions, of the UDA-UFF, UVF, RHC and LVF, by reference to the actions of the Irish Republican Army (or the northern nationalist community in general).
The constant refrain of those who excused or apologised for British violence was the myth that it was “reactionary”, “retaliatory” or “defensive” in nature. It was the Republican Movement, the IRA and Sinn Féin, which was the real source of the conflict, military, political and cultural. All else was a response to that by the good and the decent, by normally law-abiding citizens driven to the extreme.
It was deceitful and dishonest during the three decades of insurgency and counterinsurgency in the UK-administrated north-east of Ireland, and it is deceitful and dishonest now in Trump’s new America.
He didn’t say that the ‘Left’ is the real culprit. He condemned violence on all sides and asked why Left violence should get a pass. Plus he made the point that not all people defending the statue of Lee are Neo-Nazis, which is true and needs to be said.
But Trump’s insinuation that the “Left” is the real instigator of conflict in the country, violent or otherwise, has been a constant theme in his electoral campaign and presidency. It reminds one of the old British and unionist refrain in the UK occupied north-east of Ireland, attempting to reframe British terrorist violence as “reactionary” or “retaliatory” to violence by Irish republicans. It was the reverse of the actual situation then and Trump’s logic is the reverse of the true situation now.
There are undoubtedly regressive activists on the Left, but physical force is largely not emanating from that quarter. Being authoritarian dicks on college campuses is not the same as wielding bats and clubs in the streets. Or driving a car into a crowd of protestors.
However, the violence of the latter is emboldening those in the opposite camp who are seeking to up the stakes.
I urge you, honestly to think about the wider context of this. Your excuse that there are just “a few regressive activists” is the very thing you are trying to deny other people. To be against white supremacey on principal is not the same as being antifa. These people are violent communists. They oppose nationalism and would oppsose Irish nationalism. The ideologies moderates are the kind of Boyd Barret character you routinely say are out of touch with nationalistic aims in this country. Their hard-liners are violent. They are not all antifa, or alt-left or whatever we deem them as, but those hard-liners are a threat.
And not just that, the reason people are singling them out is because leftist ideology are behind the whole culture of censorship in America and elsewhere. When you talk about urging people to watch computing forever, to gain different perspectives or have argument in a constructive way, you need to realise that Sargon and ilk are branded as alt-right, the same as these piki torch carrying actual white supremicists, the mainstream SJW left are trying to silence people like computing forever and Sargon, youtube and google are censoring anyone which is not part of this “progressive” group think. And now you want to empower masked batton wielding groups to violently attack people they disagree with?
Let me put it to you this way. No-one at all is saying “driving a car into counter protesters is good”. They are saying that the left need to take responsibility for the escalation of events. They were behind the violence and riots at Berkley just because a conservative wanted to speak there (Milo Yianopolous who is far from a national socialist). Say to yourself honestly, if I wore a red trump hat and went down the street do you think I wouldnt be massively shunned? Perhaps assaulted? Well there is NO consequece for me to wear the hammer and sickle down the street. And you want to empower groups who are prepared to call ANYONE a nazi?
This is not about unionism in Ireland. there’s nothing “eerie” about it. What’s eerie is you think the left ca continue going without self awareness or criticism from others.
So they take down confederate statues. Dont pretend that many of them if not all would like to wipe away all parts of American History because they think its evil.
And please stop pretending that theres not being a load of anti-white propoganda in the media for the past few years.
(New years Resolutions for White Guys, this kind of shit has been constantly aired in public discourse all up to Hilarys failure)
When Black Lives matter have a rally and some police officers get shot, are you happy to say they are ALL like the shooter? Do you think there are no racist Black Lives matter supporters? No Black supremecy movements? No segregationists? Id love to see you attend a University and talk about your Irish struggles on campaces, leaving your privileged at the door of course. Thats if you would be allowed into the space anyway.
If you give certain elements in society the right to have rallies for all kinds of lunacy, (See the kinds of sharia law promoting, muderous homophobes they let speak at the womens march for instance) with all kinds of speakers, then no, you can’t just go punching nazis and white identitarians because you are creating them.
This has nothing to do with unionism and Irish nationalism, but you know what it soon will be. You are going to have to denounce all things related to irish culture and look at it as regressive, terribly homogenus. Your rights to criticise people who call themselves “progressive” will be taken away.
And ultimately, talking about equal rights is all very well when your trying to gain a united Ireland, but what about countries like Sweden and france who are now having to completely change the makeup of their people and their culture, and live in times of racial, religous and cultural tension. I think its taken us long enough to try and get things working over here, I would rather not import more of it.
I genuinely urge you to take a deeper look at the way things are changing. Look at who is being censored, look at the amount of people who laugh at the idea of meritocracey. Look at the corporate interests backing ideologies not JUST on the right, but on all sides.
When trump defined the alt left I was shocked to hear some common sense for once. The fact is the white supremecists, Richard Spenser and his ilk are not isolated in a vacuum. Political discourse is breaking down everywhere. people regularly joke about killing the burgouisis quite openly on facebook. I would suggest they will have to start with their parents because many of them are the most priveledged people I know. But its not a joke, millions of people have and still are being sent to gulags and concentration camps in communist countries. Are you seriously surprised to see people larping as Nazis when Corbynites are openly worshiping Joseph Stalin.
Partisan attacks on Trump, comparing him to everyone from Hitler to the DUP are not helping deescalate any of this. And I assure you the group think mentality developing among “progressives” will have no love for things like the Irish language. People will fall over themselves to get us speaking Arabic and Chinese but look at you like your some kind of old fashioned nutcase for wanting to preserve the Irish language. No, I would rather not give them the right to also attack me thank you very much.
To sum it up, the right are being openly and brazenly censored. The people who admit this is a problem are taking great risk to even talk about these things, you could lose your job or be doxxed, but if you go attack some red hat wearing woman at rally with your communist flag youll just get adulation.
Every day with this nonsense the alt right is looking more and more sympathetic.
Trump got elected, because people were fed up by regressive leftist shit. And for some odd reason they still continue the same way.
Antifa commit acts of violence, which are no less illegal than anything the Right does, and they have been at it for years now.
Your blog post title is deliberately misleading: where exactly in his speech did he ‘excuse’ the Alt-Right?
The excuse is implicit in his words and in line with previous statements, especially during the presidential campaign (offering to pay the legal expenses of men charged with assault at his rallies, excusing attacks against protesters, throwing people out from meetings, etc.):
Reporter: Senator McCain said that the alt-right is behind these attacks, and he linked that same group to those who perpetrated the attack in Charlottesville.
Trump: Well, I don’t know. I can’t tell you. I’m sure Senator McCain must know what he’s talking about. But when you say the alt-right…uh, define alt-right to me. You define it. Go ahead.
[Cross talk. Reporters shout questions.]
Trump: No, define it for me. Come on, let’s go.
Reporter: Senator McCain defined them as the same groups.
Trump: OK. What about the alt-left that came charging at-
Trump: Excuse me, what about the alt-left that came charging at the, as you say, the alt-right. Do they have any semblance of guilt?
[Cross talk. Reporters shout questions.]
Trump: Let me ask you this. What about the fact they came charging — that they came charging, with clubs in their hands, swinging clubs? Do they have any problem? I think they do. So, you know, as far as I’m concerned, that was a horrible, horrible day-
[Cross talk. Reporters shout questions.]
Trump: Wait a minute. I’m not finished. I’m not finished, fake news. That was a horrible day.
Reporter: Is it the same level as neo-Nazis?
Trump: I will tell you something. I watched those very closely, much more closely than you people watched it, and you have- You had a group on one side that was bad and you had a group on the other side that was also very violent. And nobody wants to say that, but I’ll say it right now. You had a group, you had a group on the other side that came charging in without a permit and they were very, very violent.
[Cross talk. Reporters shout questions.]
Trump: Go ahead.
Reporter: Do you think what you call the alt-left is the same as neo-Nazis?
Trump: Those people, all of those people- excuse me. I’ve condemned neo-Nazis. I’ve condemned many different groups, but not all of those people were neo-Nazis, believe me. Not all of those people were white supremacists, by any stretch.
Reporter: Well, white nationalists-
Trump: Those people were also there because they wanted to protest the taking down of a statue of Robert E. Lee. So … Excuse me. And you take a look at some of the groups and you see and you’d know it if you were honest reporters — which in many cases you’re not. But many of those people were there to protest the taking down of the statue of Robert E. Lee. So, this week it’s Robert E. Lee. I noticed that Stonewall Jackson is coming down. I wonder is it George Washington next week and is it Thomas Jefferson the week after? You know, you really do have to ask yourself where does it stop? But they were there to protest- excuse me. you take a look the night before, they were there to protest the taking down of the statue of the Robert E. Lee.
Every word of this is true. This is what’s dangerous. Am i supposed to read that and think badly of Trump. Antifa DID come with battons, and commited acid attacks, and maced people and threw cement filled bottles. Some people WERE there to protests the taking down of the statue. And by the way, the mayor has now said they will be taking two more down, even after the violence which erupted in the city. So just who is escalating things here? The mayor himself turns a blind eye to antifa. Nothing Trump says here is a lie or a distortion. What is troubling is the medias refusal to allow Trump to paint a more accurate picture of events. To condemn ALL violence.
There is a guy with a youtube channel there buying comics and he videod people he said look like the KKK and was saying how surreal it was, but maybe its better to ignore them and not get violent so they get less attention.
He was then doxxed by leftists because they thought he was alt right.
The chap has two daughters, one muslim, one jewish. His life could be potentially endanger and his career prospects harmed.
I think it is vital we stop pretending there is only one side to any of this.
“The excuse is implicit” – In other words, he doesn’t excuse them and you’re deliberately misrepresenting him.
He doesn’t excuse them, implicitly or otherwise. It’s right there in the part you quote – he condemns them all.
And the last paragraph is perfectly sensible: where does it stop?
No, he did not. There is fault on both sides. Don’t be fooled by the “political correctness” of the US media. “Political correctness” is another term for if you don’t agree with us you are wrong, vile and evil.Problems are not solved by not talking about them or vilifying those you don’t agree with.
As much as it pains me to say this, but the legitimate anti-racist, anti-fascism, and pro-equality movements in America have been infiltrated and are being actively undermined in their efforts by “red fascists” targeting race, equal rights, and free speech, such as the antifa organisation. There really is no difference between them and the neo-nazis, both believe in the ultimate fascistic ideal of “might is right.” Anyone truly believing in the ultimate tenets of freedom (such as equal treatment and free speech) must begin to distance themselves from such organisations and the associated violence, and leverage the many lawful means by which to bring about the wanted change, otherwise they become part of just another totalitarian, reactionary movement. We had no “lawful” avenues to address the wrongs inflicted by the British. We had no rights. We were fighting an occupying force that, at the time outnumbered us and infringed on our basic rights to equal treatment and free speech. We never won in court. Here you have a minute fringe group, which really has no favour anywhere. Not that they do not make me feel like they should be stamped into the ground, but laughing at them while sternly refuting and exposing their stupid ideas for what they are whenever and wherever they are presented, does them more harm in the long run. The old “liberal” mantra of intelligent, appropriate argument works. Even though it takes time, it has always been the most effective way. As for lawful means, if you take an objective view on the situation in America, and despite their overwhelming corruption, when issues of civil rights are addressed in court, the final (when it is all said and done, a few years down the line) outcome is largely (not always, but mostly) what a reasonable person would expect it to be in a working democracy (no, often they do not make everyone happy, just like here in Ireland). Gay marriage being one such major accomplishment. Most advances in civil rights in America today are accomplished by means of law-suits, not violence (as they should). They are the ones that survive the test of time as well. Simply put, violence is not the answer, where courts and the ballot box still work.
Yawn. Seamus, you’re doing yourself a disservice with these highly biased Trump articles. You’re guilty, like many of his opponents, of exactly what you criticise him for, i.e. taking sides by criticising just one side for stuff that both sides are guilty of.
Again, I have no love for Trump but the hysterical frenzy the plebs have been whipped up to by clintonites must shoulder some of the blame for recent goings on inthe US. Hilary herself, supported by a powerful media, has egged on eejits to ‘stop Trump’ at every turn. In a proper country she would be challenged for inciting violence and treason.
We have also seen celebs of every ilk declaring that the White House should be bombed and the President killed. We in Ireland know only too well how words can send hints to eejits that violence is acceptable and indeed neccessary. At the same time the owner of the said words can weasel their way out of accepting responsibility.
P.s the above reporter mentioning senator Mc Cain completely discredits any point being made, as every dog and its owner should know that McCain is a complete tool that seems to be on a mission of starting wars and violence wherever he goes.
Just to say yet again you fail,Seamy. Trump was 100% right. He called out both sides. There was violence on both sides. It could just as easily have been an Antifa that killed someone. You really need some therapy for your delusional hatred of Trump. Take some time off for your mental health and stay off the fake news from CNN and BBC.