Donald Trump’s despicable words, by Alexandra Petri

Donald Trump’s despicable words, by Alexandra Petri

Postby admin » Wed Aug 16, 2017 5:21 am

Donald Trump’s despicable words
by Alexandra Petri
Washington Post
August 14, 2017

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There should be no real difficulty in condemning Nazis, white supremacists and the Ku Klux Klan. They are, for God’s sake, Nazis and white supremacists. This should not require moral courage. This is obvious. This is the moral equivalent of the text you type to prove you’re not a robot.

President Trump is always, terminally, at a loss for words, but it would be hard to think of worse words at a more vital time than his speeches in the aftermath of the racist, terrorist violence in Charlottesville on Saturday. First, Saturday’s mealy-mouthed speech about “this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides. On many sides.” And then Monday’s halting, teleprompted follow-up, in which (two days later) he barely managed to acknowledge that, well, racism and bigotry have no place here.

“We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides. On many sides,” he said Saturday.

August 12, 2017

[President Donald Trump] Thank you very much. As you know, this was a small press conference, but a very important one. And it was scheduled to talk about the great things that we're doing with the secretary on the veterans administration. And we will talk about that very much so in a little while. But I thought I should put out a comment as to what's going on in Charlottesville. So, again, I want to thank everybody for being here, in particular I want to thank our incredible veterans. And thank you, fellas. Let me shake your hand.

They're great people. Great people. But we're closely following the terrible events unfolding in Charlottesville, Virginia. We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides, on many sides. It's been going on for a long time in our country. Not Donald Trump, not Barack Obama, this has been going on for a long, long time. It has no place in America. What is vital now is a swift restoration of law and order and the protection of innocent lives. No citizen should ever fear for their safety and security in our society. And no child should ever be afraid to go outside and play or be with their parents and have a good time.

I just got off the phone with the governor of Virginia, Terry McAuliffe, and we agree that the hate and the division must stop, and must stop right now. We have to come together as Americans with love for our nation and true affection-- really, I say this so strongly, true affection for each other. Our country is doing very well in so many ways. We have record -- just absolute record employment. We have unemployment the lowest it's been in almost 17 years. We have companies pouring into our country, Foxconn and car companies and so many others. They're coming back to our country. We're renegotiating trade deals to make them great for our country and great for the American worker.

We have so many incredible things happening in our country, so when I watch Charlottesville, to me it's very, very sad. I want to salute the great work of the state and local police in Virginia. Incredible people. Law enforcement, incredible people. And also the National Guard. They've really been working smart and working hard. They've been doing a terrific job. Federal authorities are also providing tremendous support to the governor. He thanked me for that. And we are here to provide whatever other assistance is needed. We are ready, willing and able. Above all else, we must remember this truth: No matter our color, creed, religion or political party, we are all Americans first. We love our country. We love our god.

We love our flag. We're proud of our country. We're proud of who we are, so we want to get the situation straightened out in Charlottesville, and we want to study it. And we want to see what we're doing wrong as a country where things like this can happen. My administration is restoring the sacred bonds of loyalty between this nation and its citizens, but our citizens must also restore the bonds of trust and loyalty between one another. We must love each other, respect each other and cherish our history and our future together. So important. We have to respect each other. Ideally, we have to love each other.


August 14, 2017

[President Donald Trump] Thank you.

I’m in Washington today to meet with my economic team about trade policy and major tax cuts and reform. We are renegotiating trade deals and making them good for the American worker. And it’s about time.

Our economy is now strong. The stock market continues to hit record highs. Unemployment is at a 16-year low and businesses are more optimistic than ever before. Companies are moving back to the United States and bringing many thousands of jobs with them. We have already created over one million jobs since I took office. 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 F.B.I. 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 K.K.K., neo-Nazis, white supremacists and other hate groups that are repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans.

We are a nation founded on the truth that all of us are created equal. We are equal in the eyes of our creator. We are equal under the law. And we are equal under our Constitution.

Those who spread violence in the name of bigotry strike at the very core of America. Two days ago, a young American woman, Heather Heyer, was tragically killed. Her death fills us with grief and we send her family our thoughts, our prayers and our love.

We also mourn the two Virginia state troopers who died in service to their community, their commonwealth and their country. Troopers Jay Cullen and Berke Bates exemplify the very best of America and our hearts go out to their families, their friends and every member of American law enforcement.

These three fallen Americans embody the goodness and decency of our nation. In times such as these, America has always shown its true character. Responding to hate with love, division with unity and violence with an unwavering resolve for justice.

As a candidate I promised to restore law and order to our country and our federal law enforcement agencies are following through on that pledge. We will spare no resource in fighting so that every American child can grow up free from violence and fear.

We will defend and protect the sacred rights of all Americans, and we will work together so that every citizen in this blessed land is free to follow their dreams, in their hearts, and to express the love and joy in their souls.

Thank you. God bless you, and God bless America. Thank you very much.


It is important when you consider the situation of a man whose face has been crushed by a boot to wonder if any damage might have been done to the boot.

One man’s life has been threatened, but on the other hand, another man’s property has been threatened. (Where have I heard this before? What is this park we are standing in, again?) You must consider and weigh these two things against one another. The North showed considerable aggression against the South, you could say.

This is not good enough. At what point can we stop giving people the benefit of the doubt? “Gotta Hear Both Sides” is carved over the entrance to Hell. How long must we continue to hear from idiots who are wrong? I don’t want to hear debate unless there is something legitimately to be debated, and people’s rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are not among those things. They are self-evident, or used to seem so.

8/10/17

[CNN Lead Host Jake Tapper] What was your response, Phil Mudd?

[CNN counterterrorism analyst and former CIA agent Philip Mudd] A couple of surprises! Let me give you one bottom line as a former government official: government is going to kill this guy. He defends Vladimir Putin. There are State Department and CIA officers coming home, and at Langley, and at Foggy Bottom, CIA and State, they are saying, "Is this the way you defend us?" ...

[CNN Lead Host Jake Tapper] And Phil, before, I mean, I want to ask you a question, but Phil, just to reiterate, obviously, when you're talking about killing, you're using that as a metaphor, you're not --

[CNN counterterrorism analyst and former CIA agent Philip Mudd] Obviously. What I'm saying is government -- people talk about the Deep State -- when you disrespect government officials who have done 20 or 30 years, they're gonna say, "Really, you're -- Vladimir Putin sends officers home and you support him before you support us? --"

[CNN Lead Host Jake Tapper] Yeah, I just want to underline Amanda that you were struck by the President's comments on Guam --


“It’s been going on for a long time in our country,” Trump said on Saturday. “Not Donald Trump, not Barack Obama, this has been going on for a long, long time. It has no place in America.”

If only. If only it had no place here. If only these statues had sprung up out of the earth on their own.

What did they think the mob was doing, gathered with torches?

Of course they gathered with torches, because the only liberty they have lost is the liberty to gather with torches and decide whose house to visit with terror. That is the right that is denied them: the right to other people’s possessions, the right to be the only person in the room, the right to be the only person that the world is made for. (These are not rights. They are wrongs.) You are sad because your toys have been taken, but they were never toys to begin with. They were people. It is the ending of the fairy tale; because you were a beast, you did not see that the things around you were people and not objects that existed purely for your pleasure. You should not weep that the curse is broken and you can see that your footstool was a human being.

But to rejoice in that discovery you have to stop being a beast first, and they have not. Why would they? Trump promises to turn the world back and bring the curse again. That is implicit in his every speech, a dog whistle strong enough that every dog in America is deaf and in constant pain.

Here we are in the year of our lord 2017 and the president of the United States lacks the moral courage to condemn Nazis and white supremacists. And they are not even making it difficult. They are saluting like Nazis and waving Nazi flags and chanting like Nazis and spewing hatred like Nazis. Maya Angelou was not wrong. When someone tells you who they are, believe them. Especially if what that person is telling you is “I am a Nazi.”

Barely, after two days, he has managed to mumble that their ideology has (should have) no place in our society. Silence sells hats, I guess.

“We’re proud of who we are,” Trump also said, “so we want to get the situation straightened out in Charlottesville, and we want to study it. And we want to see what we’re doing wrong as a country where things like this can happen.”

“We want to see what we’re doing wrong as a country where things like this can happen.”

Hmm, what could it be that we are doing wrong as a country? What is it exactly that has allowed these horrible ideologies to come out of the shadows, waving tiki torches and bringing terror with them? Could it be, Donald, something you’ve said? Could it be the silence that has greeted all your statements, so far past the pale of acceptable discourse that you can’t even see acceptable discourse from where you’re standing? Could it be all the refusal to name a campaign that began with rants about “rapists” and promises of a wall and a Muslim ban, and continued with sexist taunts and promiscuous retweets of conspiracists for the horror that it was? It was silence then from people who wanted to win that got us to where this can happen — this attack and this president, who won’t denounce even the most egregious of groups at the time when they have been responsible for a hideous act of terror.

But we have always been a country where things like this can happen. It is just harder not to notice now. And it is possible, sometimes, to be angrier at the person who makes you notice than at the thing you are seeing.

A truth that murder mysteries get right about human nature is that even when you find a man stabbed before the soup course, someone always wants to finish the soup. All right, someone was murdered, but I didn’t do it, and can this possibly mean I don’t get my soup? There are few things that are harder to shake than the conviction that you have never done anything wrong. You can’t have. It’s you. All right: You are not a murderer. You are a good person. But that does not mean that what you have was not ill-gotten. That does not mean that you deserve everything you have. You have to look at your history and see it, all of it.

“My administration is restoring the sacred bonds of loyalty between this nation and its citizens,” Trump went on, “but our citizens must also restore the bonds of trust and loyalty between one another. We must love each other, respect each other and cherish our history and our future together.”

We must cherish our history. (Somewhere, a dog whimpers.) Can we be a little more specific about what history? Can we be a little more specific about any of this? The specifics are where the principles are. What will we cherish, and what will we disavow? What are we putting on a pedestal, and what are we putting in a museum? Not all history is created equal.

You want many sides? Then history is a good place to start.

Monuments are always misleading, because so little good is unmixed. History contains heroes, but no one is a hero entirely, and no one is a hero for very long. You can be brilliant in some ways and despicable in others. You can be a clean, upright, moral individual in your private life who never swears, treats women with respect, and speaks highly of duty and honor– and go out every day and dedicate yourself to a cause that makes the world worse. You can live a despicable life and yet give people a powerful expression of an idea that makes the world ultimately, slowly, better. It is possible to contain such contradictions.

Thomas Jefferson, presiding spirit of Charlottesville, certainly did. He wrote, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights … life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” but he also wrote in 1769 to the newspaper demanding the return of his property: a man named Sandy, a left-handed shoemaker, “something of a horse jockey.” This is one man’s inconvenient loss of property and another man’s freedom. Many sides.

“So important,” Trump said. “We have to respect each other. Ideally, we have to love each other.”

Maybe. But there is nothing more pathological than the desire to be liked by everyone all the time. If you are continually attracting Nazis and white supremacists, you shouldn’t say, “WOW, everyone LIKES ME! Great!” you should ask yourself, “Where in my life have I gone seriously wrong?”

Who would stand over the body of someone who died protesting a hateful, violence, racist ideology and say that “we have to come together”? That we have to find common ground? I am sure there is common ground to be found with the people who say that some are not fit to be people. The man who thinks I ought not to exist — maybe we can compromise and agree that I will get to exist on alternate Thursdays. Let us only burn some of the villagers at the stake. We can eat just three of the children. All ideas deserve a fair hearing. Maybe we can agree that some people are only three-fifths of people, while we are at it. As long as we are giving a hearing to all views.

Only someone with no principles would think that such a compromise was possible. Only someone with no principles would think that such a compromise was desirable. At some point you have to judge more than just the act of fighting. You have to judge what the fighting is for. Some principles are worth fighting for, and others are not.

Certain truths used to be self-evident, to quote a man whose words were often better than he was.

But to Trump, they aren’t. Trump’s words are no better than he is. They are terrible words. They are the worst words.

At this moment O'Brien glanced at his wrist-watch, saw that it was nearly eleven hundred, and evidently decided to stay in the Records Department until the Two Minutes Hate was over. He took a chair in the same row as Winston, a couple of places away. A small, sandy-haired woman who worked in the next cubicle to Winston was between them. The girl with dark hair was sitting immediately behind.

The next moment a hideous, grinding speech, as of some monstrous machine running without oil, burst from the big telescreen at the end of the room. It was a noise that set one's teeth on edge and bristled the hair at the back of one's neck. The Hate had started.

As usual, the face of Emmanuel Goldstein, the Enemy of the People, had flashed on to the screen. There were hisses here and there among the audience. The little sandy-haired woman gave a squeak of mingled fear and disgust. Goldstein was the renegade and backslider who once, long ago (how long ago, nobody quite remembered), had been one of the leading figures of the Party, almost on a level with Big Brother himself, and then had engaged in counter-revolutionary activities, had been condemned to death, and had mysteriously escaped and disappeared. The programmes of the Two Minutes Hate varied from day to day, but there was none in which Goldstein was not the principal figure. He was the primal traitor, the earliest defiler of the Party's purity. All subsequent crimes against the Party, all treacheries, acts of sabotage, heresies, deviations, sprang directly out of his teaching. Somewhere or other he was still alive and hatching his conspiracies: perhaps somewhere beyond the sea, under the protection of his foreign paymasters, perhaps even -- so it was occasionally rumoured -- in some hiding-place in Oceania itself.

Winston's diaphragm was constricted. He could never see the face of Goldstein without a painful mixture of emotions. It was a lean Jewish face, with a great fuzzy aureole of white hair and a small goatee beard -- a clever face, and yet somehow inherently despicable, with a kind of senile silliness in the long thin nose, near the end of which a pair of spectacles was perched. It resembled the face of a sheep, and the voice, too, had a sheep-like quality. Goldstein was delivering his usual venomous attack upon the doctrines of the Party -- an attack so exaggerated and perverse that a child should have been able to see through it, and yet just plausible enough to fill one with an alarmed feeling that other people, less level-headed than oneself, might be taken in by it. He was abusing Big Brother, he was denouncing the dictatorship of the Party, he was demanding the immediate conclusion of peace with Eurasia, he was advocating freedom of speech, freedom of the Press, freedom of assembly, freedom of thought, he was crying hysterically that the revolution had been betrayed -- and all this in rapid polysyllabic speech which was a sort of parody of the habitual style of the orators of the Party, and even contained Newspeak words: more Newspeak words, indeed, than any Party member would normally use in real life. And all the while, lest one should be in any doubt as to the reality which Goldstein's specious claptrap covered, behind his head on the telescreen there marched the endless columns of the Eurasian army -- row after row of solid-looking men with expressionless Asiatic faces, who swam up to the surface of the screen and vanished, to be replaced by others exactly similar. The dull rhythmic tramp of the soldiers' boots formed the background to Goldstein's bleating voice.

Before the Hate had proceeded for thirty seconds, uncontrollable exclamations of rage were breaking out from half the people in the room. The self-satisfied sheep-like face on the screen, and the terrifying power of the Eurasian army behind it, were too much to be borne: besides, the sight or even the thought of Goldstein produced fear and anger automatically. He was an object of hatred more constant than either Eurasia or Eastasia, since when Oceania was at war with one of these Powers it was generally at peace with the other. But what was strange was that although Goldstein was hated and despised by everybody, although every day and a thousand times a day, on platforms, on the telescreen, in newspapers, in books, his theories were refuted, smashed, ridiculed, held up to the general gaze for the pitiful rubbish that they were in spite of all this, his influence never seemed to grow less. Always there were fresh dupes waiting to be seduced by him. A day never passed when spies and saboteurs acting under his directions were not unmasked by the Thought Police. He was the commander of a vast shadowy army, an underground network of conspirators dedicated to the overthrow of the State. The Brotherhood, its name was supposed to be. There were also whispered stories of a terrible book, a compendium of all the heresies, of which Goldstein was the author and which circulated clandestinely here and there. It was a book without a title. People referred to it, if at all, simply as the book. But one knew of such things only through vague rumours. Neither the Brotherhood nor the book was a subject that any ordinary Party member would mention if there was a way of avoiding it.

In its second minute the Hate rose to a frenzy. People were leaping up and down in their places and shouting at the tops of their voices in an effort to drown the maddening bleating voice that came from the screen. The little sandy-haired woman had turned bright pink, and her mouth was opening and shutting like that of a landed fish. Even O'Brien's heavy face was flushed. He was sitting very straight in his chair, his powerful chest swelling and quivering as though he were standing up to the assault of a wave. The dark-haired girl behind Winston had begun crying out 'Swine! Swine! Swine!' and suddenly she picked up a heavy Newspeak dictionary and flung it at the screen. It struck Goldstein's nose and bounced off; the voice continued inexorably. In a lucid moment Winston found that he was shouting with the others and kicking his heel violently against the rung of his chair. The horrible thing about the Two Minutes Hate was not that one was obliged to act a part, but, on the contrary, that it was impossible to avoid joining in. Within thirty seconds any pretence was always unnecessary. A hideous ecstasy of fear and vindictiveness, a desire to kill, to torture, to smash faces in with a sledge-hammer, seemed to flow through the whole group of people like an electric current, turning one even against one's will into a grimacing, screaming lunatic. And yet the rage that one felt was an abstract, undirected emotion which could be switched from one object to another like the flame of a blowlamp. Thus, at one moment Winston's hatred was not turned against Goldstein at all, but, on the contrary, against Big Brother, the Party, and the Thought Police; and at such moments his heart went out to the lonely, derided heretic on the screen, sole guardian of truth and sanity in a world of lies. And yet the very next instant he was at one with the people about him, and all that was said of Goldstein seemed to him to be true. At those moments his secret loathing of Big Brother changed into adoration, and Big Brother seemed to tower up, an invincible, fearless protector, standing like a rock against the hordes of Asia, and Goldstein, in spite of his isolation, his helplessness, and the doubt that hung about his very existence, seemed like some sinister enchanter, capable by the mere power of his voice of wrecking the structure of civilization.

It was even possible, at moments, to switch one's hatred this way or that by a voluntary act. Suddenly, by the sort of violent effort with which one wrenches one's head away from the pillow in a nightmare, Winston succeeded in transferring his hatred from the face on the screen to the dark-haired girl behind him. Vivid, beautiful hallucinations flashed through his mind. He would flog her to death with a rubber truncheon. He would tie her naked to a stake and shoot her full of arrows like Saint Sebastian. He would ravish her and cut her throat at the moment of climax. Better than before, moreover, he realized why it was that he hated her. He hated her because she was young and pretty and sexless, because he wanted to go to bed with her and would never do so, because round her sweet supple waist, which seemed to ask you to encircle it with your arm, there was only the odious scarlet sash, aggressive symbol of chastity.

The Hate rose to its climax. The voice of Goldstein had become an actual sheep's bleat, and for an instant the face changed into that of a sheep. Then the sheep-face melted into the figure of a Eurasian soldier who seemed to be advancing, huge and terrible, his sub-machine gun roaring, and seeming to spring out of the surface of the screen, so that some of the people in the front row actually flinched backwards in their seats. But in the same moment, drawing a deep sigh of relief from everybody, the hostile figure melted into the face of Big Brother, black-haired, black-moustachio'd, full of power and mysterious calm, and so vast that it almost filled up the screen. Nobody heard what Big Brother was saying. It was merely a few words of encouragement, the sort of words that are uttered in the din of battle, not distinguishable individually but restoring confidence by the fact of being spoken. Then the face of Big Brother faded away again, and instead the three slogans of the Party stood out in bold capitals:

WAR IS PEACE

FREEDOM IS SLAVERY

IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH

But the face of Big Brother seemed to persist for several seconds on the screen, as though the impact that it had made on everyone's eyeballs was too vivid to wear off immediately. The little sandyhaired woman had flung herself forward over the back of the chair in front of her. With a tremulous murmur that sounded like 'My Saviour!' she extended her arms towards the screen. Then she buried her face in her hands. It was apparent that she was uttering a prayer.

At this moment the entire group of people broke into a deep, slow, rhythmical chant of 'B-B! ...B-B!' -- over and over again, very slowly, with a long pause between the first 'B' and the second-a heavy, murmurous sound, somehow curiously savage, in the background of which one seemed to hear the stamp of naked feet and the throbbing of tom-toms. For perhaps as much as thirty seconds they kept it up. It was a refrain that was often heard in moments of overwhelming emotion. Partly it was a sort of hymn to the wisdom and majesty of Big Brother, but still more it was an act of self-hypnosis, a deliberate drowning of consciousness by means of rhythmic noise. Winston's entrails seemed to grow cold. In the Two Minutes Hate he could not help sharing in the general delirium, but this sub-human chanting of 'B-B! ...B-B!' always filled him with horror. Of course he chanted with the rest: it was impossible to do otherwise. To dissemble your feelings, to control your face, to do what everyone else was doing, was an instinctive reaction.

-- Nineteen Eighty-Four (1984), by George Orwell
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