The Senate's Top Republican Just Said What Trump Won't About Neo-Nazis

by John Haltiwanger
Alex Wong/Getty Images

President Donald Trump's remarks on Charlottesville on Tuesday, Aug. 15, were so indefensible even Republicans aren't backing him up. On Wednesday, Aug. 16, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell issued a statement on neo-Nazis that made it clear he does not agree whatsoever with Trump's assessment of the recent events in Charlottesville. McConnell said, "We can have no tolerance for an ideology of racial hatred. There are no good neo-Nazis, and those who espouse their views are not supporters of American ideals and freedoms." This comes after Trump once again blamed fatal violence that occurred during a white supremacist march in Charlottesville on "both sides" and the "alt-left" -- a group that doesn't exist. Trump essentially drew a false moral equivalence between neo-Nazis and the people protesting against them. He also said there were "very fine people" on both sides. Clearly, McConnell does not agree -- and he's not alone.

Other Republicans, including House Speaker Paul Ryan, also condemned Trump's remarks and criticized him for not firmly condemning white supremacists.

Trump's comments on Aug. 15 came after he'd already been in hot water for not decrying the white nationalists quickly enough. On Monday, Aug. 14, the president issued a statement that specifically condemned hate groups and racism, but he evidently felt the need to walk back on that the next day.

Some people don't think Republicans are doing enough to challenge Trump.

Due to the fact the Republicans endorsed Trump during his campaign, which was frequently characterized as being fueled by bigoted and xenophobic sentiments, many seem to feel this party is largely responsible for what we're now seeing. The general consensus seems to be the GOP knew full well who Trump was and could've predicted this, but they still supported his candidacy. After all, Trump perpetuated a racist conspiracy theory about Obama for years, called Obama the "founder of ISIS," referred to Mexican immigrants as "rapists" and "killers," attacked the parents of a dead Muslim American soldier, suggested a federal judge wasn't qualified because of his "Mexican heritage," called for banning all Muslim immigration to the U.S., and was endorsed by the KKK's official newspaper during his campaign. Given all that, should we be surprised Trump is now making statements that are being celebrated by people like David Duke, the former head of the KKK? And is it enough for Republicans to simply condemn what Trump says when they helped push him into this position? Along these lines, some are calling on the GOP to do far more and perhaps even push for impeaching Trump.

It seems unlikely Republicans would support impeaching a president from their own party, even one as unpopular as Trump. But, if they don't do more to stand up to him, it's conceivable they will suffer major losses in the 2018 midterms.