Trump spoke out against white supremacy today. He gave a speech calling them “repugnant” and referred to them by name – the KKK, the neo-nazis, white supremacists. Good news, but when I break it down I’m not inclined to believe it was heartfelt. Why?
Well, how much time do you have?
— It was two days late.
— It was delivered with “all the enthusiasm of a hostage video” (this quote from Walter Schaub, Trump’s own former ethics chief).
— It was tele-prompted, which means someone else wrote it for him.
— It came only after enormous pressure from other Republicans.
— It *still* hedged, if you listened to it carefully. “As I said Saturday…” and “As I’ve said before.” Except he’s never made an absolute black-and-white denouncement like this before. Never. Which comes off like a weak dog whistle buried in the noise: “Don’t worry, guys, they’re twisting my arm but I’ve still got your back.”
— It still didn’t directly repudiate their support of him or their use of his name.
— He didn’t tweet it. He’s made 4 tweets today, none of them repudiating white supremacy, and every single human being knows that when he really means something, he tweets it.
— It was sandwiched in between two other appalling actions: a tweeted insult against Ken Frazier (the black man who quit the president’s advisory council over the speech on Saturday), and a threat to pardon Joe Arpaio (the Arizona sheriff who defied a court order instructing him to stop racially profiling people for potential deportation).
There is still some good news here, though. His DoJ is investigating. He was forced to come to the microphone and speak the words they wrote for him, which shows his will can be bent. His approval rating took another shellacking for his sniveling equivocations over the weekend, dropping to 34% in the latest Gallup poll (!!). A campaign to make him prove what he said by firing white supremacists Steve Bannon and Sebastian Gorka is gaining steam, fueled by Trump’s own speech. Outside of the Trump administration, a social media campaign to identify, doxx, and punish the alt-righters who beat Deandre Harris half to death is working incredibly well, and The Daily Stormer, the Nazi website, was dumped by their host (GoDaddy).
But this isn’t a Grinch story. Trump’s heart is just as shriveled and black as it was on Saturday. Yes, the words passed his lips– a lot of words have passed this guy’s lips–but I’m not fooled by them. I’m not breathing a sigh of relief. I look at his actions, and it’s obvious the words he spoke were exactly that: