A year ago in Charlottesville, neo-Nazis, Ku Klux Klansmen and other members of hate groups marched through the University of Virginia campus shouting anti-Semitic slogans, then fought with counter-protesters in the city streets. Not Donald Trump, not Barack Obama.
Asked by a reporter about the book on Saturday at his club in Bedminster, New Jersey, the President held a hand to his mouth, as if to whisper, and said: "Lowlife". Over the past year, from his perch in the White House, he's repeatedly questioned the intelligence of prominent black figures, including Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., basketball star LeBron James and CNN anchor Don Lemon, whom he called "the dumbest man on television".
Counterprotester Heather Heyer was killed after a white supremacist rammed his auto into a group of counterprotesters. Indeed, racial divisiveness (e.g., picking fights with African American athletes, calling African Americans "low IQ", referring to mostly nonwhite countries as "shitholes", equating innocent "dreamers" with MS-13 gang members, trying to take away funding from cities that do not spend public-safety dollars rounding up and detaining illegal immigrants who haven't committed serious crimes, the Muslim ban) is central to Trump's presidency. The rally, named "Unite the Right", turned violent when it was met with counterprotesters, which resulted in the death of 32-year-old Heather Heyer, who was killed by a 20-year-old neo-Nazi after he drove his vehicle into the crowd.
Organized by Unite the Right - the same network that called last year's protest in Charlottesville, Virginia - Sunday's rally will once again see the extremists stand face-to-face with anti-fascists, who are staging a counter protest.
"Racism is evil. And those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs, including the KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and other hate groups that are repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans", Trump said.
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"We were just taking the streets", he said.
Trump unleashed a furious backlash a year ago when he engaged in jaw-dropping moral equivalence, saying there were "very fine people, on both sides" (meaning both Nazi sympathizers and anti-Nazi protesters) and later claiming there was "blame on both sides".
After that press conference, the outrage at Trump from both sides of the aisle intensified.
Corporate executives pulled out of two White House business advisory panels as they attempted to distance themselves from Trump.
Trump says his harsh language is aimed at gang members and unsafe criminals. Republicans report little connection: only 18 percent of Republicans say the way that the president handles race relations matters a lot to how they evaluate him.