Charlottesville (for Slovakian consumption)

I’m glad to know that even in Slovakia, they are aware of the fact that Trump is unwilling to condemn white supremacists.  I was contacted by my journalist friend at Pravda for a few comments.  Figured I might as well share my response here, too.

1. President Donald Trump was criticized for his reaction to events in Charlottesville. What would be your reaction, was Trump too soft on white supremacists by not even named them?
My personal reaction– Trump’s “many sides” response was cowardly and despicable.  But, forget my reaction, I’m a liberal.  I think the reaction of some very conservative Republicans, Orrin Hatch, Cory Gardner, Marco Rubio, etc., essentially calling out Trump for being too soft on white supremacists is very telling.  This tells us just how far out of the mainstream our president is on the issue.  On the one hand, it is encouraging how many voices– including from the right– have spoken out appropriately against this.  On the other hand, it is extremely, extremely distressing that our very president, is clearly unwilling to criticize white supremacists.
2. How important (unimportant?) is for Trump and GOP to keep at least some support of far right extremist elements of the US society?
Well, obviously Trump thinks they are important.  He has spoken his mind– far too freely, shall we say– about all sorts of issues and opponents, yet when it comes to white supremacists (and Vladimir Putin, of course), he pretty much always pulls his punches.
As a political scientist, I can say that it is simply incontrovertible that the GOP has built its current national majority, in significant part, on politically exploiting sentiments of racial animus.  I do not think that the far right is a key element of that, but, when you politically exploit more subtle racial resentment, empowering this kind of far right extremism can be seen as a natural consequence.

About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State

One Response to Charlottesville (for Slovakian consumption)

  1. Terrant says:

    IMHO, the members of the authoritarian right that are denouncing Mr. Trump’s remarks are only doing so to save their skins come election time.

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