Often it takes a tragedy to unite our country. September 11th, Hurricane Katrina, tornadoes, earthquakes, and many other natural and man-made disasters have brought disparate elements of our nation together with a common purpose, often after the guidance and leadership presented by a unifying message broadcast from the White House.
It was Donald Trump’s failure to take the calamity of Charlottesville, Virginia yesterday and use it as a moment to bridge political divides in the United States that led The Dallas Morning News to write an editorial lambasting the president for a frighteningly bungled attempt at national governance and unity.
Entitled “Amid The Violence In Virginia, President Trump Failed In A Test Of Leadership,” the editorial harshly points out both the “ugliness of America” and Trump’s inability to demonstrate any sort of “real leadership.”
After describing the events that took place yesterday, the newspaper identifies the
“golden opportunity to condemn the violence and speak out against the white supremacists and white nationalists, many of whom supported him in the election against Hillary Clinton”
that Trump was presented with and states that:
“The country needed the leader of the nation to forcefully call out these ugly — and un-American — interests.”
After acknowledging that there was no space for violent behavior from either side of the protests, the editorial continues:
“But on this day, it was all about white supremacists, neo-Nazis and white nationalists.
The best President Trump came up with is to say, “We want to get this situation straightened out in Charlottesville. And we want to study it. And we want to see what we’re doing wrong as a country.” He also blamed “hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides.”
The country needed to hear the president specifically condemn white supremacists and make clear to them that while they have a First Amendment right to express their views, their hatred and bigotry run counter to the values of the United States. There will be no toleration of violence.”
Yes, that is exactly what the country needed to hear from our president, but it was something that Donald Trump couldn’t bring himself to say. This was his base. These were the people who put him in the White House. These were the people who he had rallied into an anti-immigrant froth at his campaign events. These were the people who had happily chanted along to cries of “Lock her up!” To denounce them would go against every fiber of his self-interested political instincts.
Hence, the conclusion of the editorial in The Dallas Morning News:
On Saturday, President Trump failed his country.
Yes, he has, and he did it on such a gargantuan scale that even the editorial writers of one of the major newspapers in one of the most conservative states in the country couldn’t fail to notice.