White supremacists flooded into Charlottesville, Virginia this weekend, and along with them came peaceful counterprotestors to fight back against their racist rhetoric.
In a very brief amount of time, three people were dead and at least 33 are injured, so why exactly did the Charlottesville rally happen and what is Trump doing in the aftermath?
Rallies don’t always need a reason, well no more than those involved being slightly unhinged racists, but technically the white supremacists were actually protesting something in Charlottesville this weekend.
White nationalists, including neo-Nazis, skinheads, and Ku Klux Klan members – because apparently there’s a difference in their ideals – descended upon the Virginian city for a ‘Unite the Right’ rally.
The rally was spurred not by a feared loss of rights, like the Women’s Mach, nor by an inherent prejudice that was seeing people die at far higher rates than their white counterparts, like Black Lives Matter. No, the white supremacists were protesting the upcoming removal of a statue of Confederate icon Robert E. Lee from a park.
One can’t help but draw parallels between the terror attacks in Nice and London, which saw men mow people down in vehicular attacks, with James Alex Fields Jr. driving into a group of peaceful counterprotestors and killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer.
However, Trump refused to call it a terrorist attack. In fact, when he spoke out purportedly to condemn the attack, he wouldn't use the words 'white supremacist' and repeatedly blamed “many sides”.
“We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry, and violence on many sides.
“On many sides. It’s been going on for a long time in our country. Not Donald Trump. Not Barack Obama. It’s been going on for a long, long time.”
His inability to strongly denounce the terrorist behaviour of the white supremacists was eerily reminiscent of his refusal to disavow the support of former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke in 2015.
It was a fact the alt-right noticed too and The Daily Stormer, an infamously virulently racist website, immediately noted the president had “virtually no counter-signalling of us at all”.
The emails sent to their subscribers about how Trump's "comments are good" are attached below:
David Duke called the rally a “turning point” and heavily implicated President Trump in their behaviour.
“We are going to fulfill the promises of Donald Trump. That’s what we believed in,” he said.
“That’s why we voted for Donald Trump, because he said he’s going to take our country back.”