On Charlottesville

[Content Note: White supremacy; violence; death.]

On Friday night, torch-carrying white supremacists marched in Charlottesville, Virginia, chanting phrases like "You will not replace us" and "Blood and soil," which is a Nazi slogan. Many of them were dressed like Donald Trump in his golf gear — khaki slacks, white shirt, red MAGA hat — as they threw Nazi salutes. In the daylight the following day, others proudly showed off white supremacist tattoos, including Nazi insignia. Flags bearing the Nazi swastika mingled with Confederate flags.

Protesters showed up to push back on Nazis marching through their community. As skirmishes broke out between Nazi provocateurs and protesters, the police did not treat the Nazis in the way that police in other locations have treated, for example, Black Lives Matter protesters. To the contrary, many people on the ground in Charlottesville reported that the police were allowing violence and/or acting to protect the white supremacists, some of whom were dressed in military gear to suggest they might be National Guard.

As the weekend wore on, a white supremacist named James Fields Jr. rammed his car into a crowd of anti-racist protesters, injuring 19 people and killing Heather Heyer, a local paralegal who worked with people filing bankruptcy, whose last Facebook message read, "If you're not outraged, you're not paying attention." My condolences to her family, friends, colleagues, and community.

(A Tale of Two White Women: Heyer was an active anti-racist, who her mother says "always had a very strong sense of right and wrong, she always, even as a child, was very caught up in what she believed to be fair." Samantha Bloom, Fields' mother, [CN: video may autoplay at link] had no idea her son was going to a white supremacist rally. She thought it was a rally for Trump, and had to do with something called "albright," being clueless about the alt-right: "I just knew he was going to a rally. I mean, I try to stay out of his political views. You know, we don't, you know, I don't really get too involved, I moved him out to his own apartment, so we — I'm watching his cat." She also noted that he had a Black friend.)

Donald Trump remained very quiet about what was happening in Charlottesville for a very long time. When he finally appeared to make a statement, it was utterly vile.

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 — it's 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 agreed 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 — and 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. We are here to provide any 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 are 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.
To be clear: Trump refused to condemn white supremacists because he is himself a white supremacist. A Nazi defender now occupies the same office once inhabited by a president who took the nation to war to defeat Nazis.

And no one is more thrilled about that than white supremacists, who celebrated Trump's refusal to condemn their action in Charlottesville, boasting: "We are going to take over the country."

They are already planning additional actions around the nation.

I will have more on this throughout the day, but these are the basic outlines for anyone just getting caught up. I did quite a bit of tweeting over the weekend, and I have Storified those tweets.

I am angry. I am scared. And I am resolved like the stubborn fucker that I am to resist this violent hatred with everything I've got, in any way I can. I resolutely take up space in solidarity with those who targeted by Nazis and with those prepared to fight them.

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