Well, you know what they say about condemning the Klan and Nazis: “better late than never.” [Sarcasm alert]
After nearly 48 hours of non-stop bad press and relentless scolding from politicians on both sides of the aisle, Donald Trump decided on Monday afternoon that maybe it would be a good idea to explicitly acknowledge the fact that the KKK and neo-Nazis are folks who don’t generally have the best interest of the nation at heart.
Here’s what he said at a hastily-put-together presser:
JUST IN: Pres. Trump calls "KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists and other hate groups…repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans." pic.twitter.com/SPArQ6lsLL
— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) August 14, 2017
So I mean, that’s great and all – I certainly don’t want to suggest that he shouldn’t have said that and to be sure, it’s never “too late” to condemn white supremacists – but you’d be forgiven for thinking that this was entirely a product of the overwhelming public backlash against the comments he made on Saturday.
Again, it’s not so much that “he can’t do anything right,” as it is that what America was asking him to do was so simple that it’s hard for anyone to understand why it took so damn long.
Specifically, he should have turned around and immediately said “absolutely not” to the reporter who asked this question over the weekend:
— BuzzFeed News (@BuzzFeedNews) August 12, 2017
Simply put, you can’t recover from that.
If you don’t denounce white supremacists every chance you get, you are ensuring that no one is going to take you seriously on the issue ever again. Here’s how I put it earlier in a tweet:
that's like if you woke up to this:
"Asked if goblin invasion would be bad, President says 'not sure'"
— Walter White (@heisenbergrpt) August 14, 2017
Ultimately, this is just another example of Trump creating problems for himself.
The “Left” didn’t refuse to answer a question about white nationalists – Trump did.
“Liberals” didn’t wait almost 48 hours to specifically call out the KKK and neo-Nazis – Trump did.
The other thing to note here (and this is important) is that Trump seemingly lacks the ability (or the discipline) to think ahead.
Think about it like this (just to take it to its logical extreme). Let’s say you actually were trying to avoid alienating white nationalists because you know they vote. Well knowing that there is simply no getting around denouncing them in this situation, it would be infinitely more prudent to say “no” to a reporter while walking out of the room than refusing to answer and having this turn into a media spectacle that puts the spotlight on the very issue you’re trying to avoid.
Again, he seems to lack critical thinking skills.
Ultimately though, we’ll just repeat what we said above: it’s never “too late” to denounce white supremacists, so at least give him that even if you think he’s full of shit.