The president, after being hammered left, right and center for his wishy-washy condemnation of the 'Sad!' actions in Charlottesville on Saturday, took another stab at it today. His initial comments, which you can see in their entirety here, did not specifically condemn the alt-right, KKK, Nazi, White Supremacist, White Nationalist provocateurs who were behind the 'Unite the Right' rally that ultimately led to the murder of Heather Heyer, and peripherally the accident which took the lives of Virginia State Troopers Jay Cullen and Berke Bates. Instead, he mentioned the 'many sides' who, by his comments, were equally responsible for the death and destruction. An anonymous spokesperson at the White House on Sunday tried to help the president out, saying that those specific groups were included in Trump's comments, even though he didn't actually say name them, or any others. So, today he did - after, of course, patting himself on the back about the stock market and optimism, and companies moving back to America, yadda yadda yadda blah blah blah.
...We will be discussing economic issues in greater detail later this afternoon, but, based on the events that took place over the weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia, I would like to provide the nation with an update on the ongoing federal response to the horrific attack and violence that was witnessed by everyone.
I just met with FBI Director Christopher Wray and Attorney General Jeff Sessions. The Department of Justice has opened a civil rights investigation into the deadly car attack that killed one innocent American and wounded 20 others. To anyone who acted criminally in this weekend’s racist violence, you will be held fully accountable. Justice will be delivered.
As I said on Saturday, we condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry, and violence. It has no place in America.
And as I have said many times before: No matter the color of our skin, we all live under the same laws, we all salute the same great flag, and we are all made by the same almighty God. We must love each other, show affection for each other, and unite together in condemnation of hatred, bigotry, and violence. We must rediscover the bonds of love and loyalty that bring us together as Americans.
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...
That he can lash out at radical Islamic terrorism immediately, no matter where it occurs around the world and have to be prodded into saying Nazi, KKK and White Supremacist speaks volumes. That his daughter responded significantly more appropriately on Saturday than he did speaks volumes. Also speaking volumes? Two members of his American Manufacturing Council have resigned. Kevin Plank, CEO of Under Armour, was the second to leave the group, posting this message on Twitter this evening:
The first to resign was Kevin Frazier, the head of Merck, who offered his statement this morning, before Trump's comments:
Trump's response was predictably quick and predictably personal - in fact, he had to respond twice, some nine hours apart:
We'll have to see how long it takes Trump to attack Under Armour, if he does at all. Kevin Plank, after all, supported Trump shortly after the inauguration, causing a great deal of angst among the company's stable of athletes and personalities. Plank has since commented publicly and politely about the Muslim ban (against) and about Trump leaving the Paris Accord (against), but as a businessman I suspect Trump would understand the need to protect a brand.
However, UA's list of suppliers is prime for a Trump attack: only one American supplier. The rest: Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Columbia, Egypt, El Salvador... you get the drift. We'll have to see if we get a tweet storm tomorrow morning.
Oh -- speaking of Twitter, I'll leave you with this loving and affectionate shot at the media from Trump.