Donald Trump’s silence on white supremacist terror isn’t an anomaly — it’s a tradition //
Only one of these sides features a participant — James Alex Fields, Jr. — who has been arrested on suspicion of committing what appears to be a terrorist attack, allegedly plowing his car through a crowd of anti-racism protesters and killing one person. (A photo of Fields marching with the white nationalist group Vanguard America began circulating after his alleged crime; the organization has since denied Fields is a member.)
Trump’s condemnation of “many sides” was so vague, in fact, that alt-right leader Richard Spencer wondered if the president’s ire was being directed at the anti-fascists.
“Did Trump just denounce antifa?” Spencer tweeted.
Spencer’s statement may seem willfully obtuse, and the White House has since clarified that Trump’s statement “includes” neo-Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan. But it’s a fair conclusion to draw. Spencer is articulating what could be the defining feature of Trump’s presidency: a tendency to court white supremacists and articulate their grievances while declining, hypocritically, to name them and denounce their violence.