Condemnation, Delays, and Pleaded Ignorance: Glaring Deficiencies in the Trump White House (Opinion)
In his first public appearance since denouncing the violence “on many sides” in Charlottesville, Virginia over the weekend, President Trump was more specific in his condemnation.
“Racism is evil and those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs, including the KKK, neo-Nazis and white supremacists and other hate groups that are repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans,” President Trump said.
This was a more satisfactory response in the eyes of citizens and lawmakers alike compared to his first statement, which received backlash from Republicans and Democrats alike for his failure to specifically rebuke white nationalists and white supremacists.
Shortly after this statement, though, President Trump announced a potential pardon for Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio.
“I am seriously considering a pardon for Sheriff Arpaio,” the President said. “He has done a lot in the fight against illegal immigration. He’s a great American patriot, and I hate to see what has happened to him.”
Two weeks ago, Sheriff Arpaio was found guilty of criminal contempt for not following a state judge’s orders to cease targeting and racial profiling in an attempt to find illegal immigrants. If Trump does pardon Arpaio, it will be the first pardon of his presidency.
“Is there anyone in local law enforcement who has done more to crackdown on illegal immigration than Sheriff Joe?” President Trump asked. “He has protected people from crimes and saved lives. He doesn’t deserve to be treated this way.”
According to different sources within and beyond Arizona, Sheriff Arpaio, who has been the elected Sheriff of Maricopa County, AZ since 1993, that statement from the President isn’t true.
The only county for crime to rise in Arizona in 2010, when these sources were compiled, was Maricopa County. There were also 400 neglected sex crime cases, suspicion of Arpaio misspending $50 million in taxpayer funds, and other disturbing information.
Trump’s justification for Arpaio was that he’s cracked down on illegal immigration and been a good patriot, yet the facts do not support that claim. The president finally, following public outcry, denounced white supremacists by name, and then hinted at a pardon for a racist who has even stated that he arrests “very few” non-Hispanics in a 2010 interview on “Larry King Live” (It is to be noted that the population of Arizona as of 2016 is over 80% white and over 55% white, non-Hispanic).
Sheriff Arpaio aside, delayed responses similar to Trump’s statement on Charlottesville have been present since his candidacy.
On February 28, 2016, Trump was being interviewed by CNN’s Jake Tapper. Remarks made days prior from former KKK Grand Wizard David Duke were brought up by Tapper.
Tapper stated: “...former KKK grand wizard David Duke, who recently said that voting against you at this point would be treason to your heritage. Will you unequivocally condemn David Duke and say that you don’t want his vote or that of other white supremacists in this election?”
Trump’s response: “Well, just so you understand, I don’t know anything about David Duke. OK? I don’t know anything about what you’re even talking about with white supremacy or white supremacists. So, I don’t know.”
But in four separate interviews dating back as far as 1991 up to 2000, Donald Trump acknowledges David Duke multiple times by name along with Pat Buchanan, a neo-Nazi who won the Reform Party nomination in 2000 but received less than one half of one percent of the vote.
Before he was even elected, Trump had an issue condemning hate groups, but this was only recently. In those interviews from 1991 and 2000, Trump outright denounced Buchanan and Duke and any hate associated with them.
According to the Washington Post, the same month that then-candidate Trump stated that he didn’t know anything about David Duke: “Rachel Pendergraft — the national organizer for the Knights Party, a standard-bearer for the Ku Klux Klan — told The Post that Trump's campaign offered the organization a new outreach tool for recruiting new members and expanding their formerly dwindling ranks.”
His pleaded ignorance is no more than shoddy falsities. As a candidate, you cannot claim "I know more about ISIS than the generals do,” and then claim to not know anything about David Duke or the KKK. You cannot condemn racists and then mention pardoning one.
This ignorance and failure to respond to acts of domestic terrorism and hate crimes is a troubling pattern.
Three people were stabbed, two fatally, for defending a woman from a hateful outburst on a train ride in Portland, Oregon on May 27, 2017. The suspect hurled hate speech toward two women when three passengers stepped in to defend them, only to be stabbed. President Trump was silent on the matter until public outcry led him to release a statement the following Monday, two days after the attack.
More recently, there was an explosion at a mosque in Minnesota on August 5, 2017. According to Fox News, the explosion took place at 5:00 a.m. and no injuries were reported. Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton responded: “This is an act of terrorism. This is against the law in America.”
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security also released a statement, stating that the department “fully supports the rights of all to freely and safely worship the faith of their choosing and we vigorously condemn such attacks on any religious institution.”
Days following the bombing, Minnesotans and Muslims both were reacting to President Trump’s silence on the bombing. To date, the President still has not commented on the Minnesota mosque bombing.
This is a troubling pattern for the President of the United States to follow. From a candidate who criticized President Obama for not calling out radical Islamic terrorism to a president who refuses to condemn specific white supremacists, this administration is full of double standards.
And it is to be acknowledged that yes, President Trump did criticize and condemn the acts of the Neo-Nazis and white supremacists, but the next sentence was that he was “seriously considering” pardoning a proud racist.
Actions always speak louder than words, and silence drowns them both out. So far in the Trump presidency, we have prolonged silences after a disaster, followed by vague statements due to public outcry, and then acts that contradict said statement.
It is time for our President to hold himself accountable and run this country like a president rather than a CEO who is afraid of his employees and shareholders. The United States of America is not just another Trump business that can fail, but a country which under this administration has become a laughing stock to the rest of the world. We have lost our place among the world powers in the fight against climate change, other world leaders respond to our own disasters with more vigor than our own president, and at home we have a president who does nothing but golf and tweet legislation.
“I would rarely leave the White House because there’s so much work to be done.” - Donald J. Trump, June, 2015.
What's your opinion of the #TrumpWhiteHouse? Share with me in the comments below.
Featured Image // Via http://www.businessinsider.com/donald-trump-reporter-press-conference-abortion-2016-1
About The Author:
Jackson Collier is the Editor-in-Chief for The Bitter Student. He wants to graduate with concentrations in both journalism and communications. His writing interests are politics and short stories. You can follow Jackson on social media @jacksoncollier and LinkedIn.