A year after Charlottesville, the president still doesn’t call out white supremacy by name

If Donald Trump was home Sunday afternoon, he could peel back a curtain and watch Nazis gather in a park so close to the White House it might as well be his lawn. But instead of yelling what a typical old man might (“get off!”), he’s gone with a much more tolerant message.

Members of the same alt-right and white nationalist groups who stormed Chatlottesville, Virginia a year ago, marching with tiki torches and chanting slogans from the Third Reich are descending on Lafayette Square in the second “Unite the Right” event.

The tweet is arguably better than his performance a year ago, though the bar is low. Last year Trump stood in the lobby of his tower in Manhattan and argued that the left is equivalent to Nazism: “there is blame on both sides.”

Despite Nazis literally planning to gather outside his window, Trump still refuses to speak to or acknowledge them directly. And while presumably white supremacy would fall under his umbrella rejection of “all types of racism,” the language is the kind used by groups who don’t believe racism uniquely harms people of color, but is as bad or even worse for whites. The notion of “all types of racism” is itself a rejection of what racism really is.

Over the last year, there’s been a fair amount of hand-wringing over when Trump will just say the right thing: Nazis are bad. White supremacy is bad. Maybe it’s time to accept that there’s a reason, a year later, he hasn’t.

Trump doesn’t want to call out white supremacists

Even years into the Trump era, there’s still a reluctance to take the president’s word at face value. When he says something patently racist about a group of people (whether describing a “shit hole country” or an entire nationality as “rapists”), maybe that is actually what he thinks.

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