President Donald Trump waves as he arrives to deliver a speech at Krasinski Square at the Royal Castle, Thursday, July 6, 2017, in Warsaw. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
Thusday night, in one of his regular phone-in appearances on Fox News’ “Hannity” show, President Trump condemned white supremacists, and the Proud Boys.
Trump said “Let me be very clear: I condemn the KKK. I condemn all white supremacists. I condemn the Proud Boys.” He continued, “I don’t know much about the Proud Boys, almost nothing, but I condemn that.”
Then Trump challenged Joe Biden to condemn Antifa.
Obviously, this is going to be overcome by breaking events in the news, so we won’t be hearing much of it. It likely won’t matter.
The mainstream media doesn’t want the president’s words of condemnation, not when they’re spoken over the phone to Trump’s buddy Sean Hannity. They want a primetime speech, or a press conference, or a sit-down interview with their media outlet, but even that won’t be enough.
In Thursday’s press briefing, press secretary Kayleigh McEnany read a long list of all the times the president has condemned racism and white supremacists. The question was, indeed, asked and answered.
But “just to clear it up,” reporter John Roberts asked for one more statement, beyond her “reading a bunch of quotes.”
Again and again, Trump has been asked to condemn these groups. Then he goes out and throws them a bone now and again, like “stand back and stand by” during the debate.
What they really want is for Trump to eat his words. They want him to condemn himself and say he’s sorry for all the times he flirted with the far-right, white supremacists, and “fine people” who happened not to be tearing down statues in Charlottesville. They want him to make a full apology, not a condemnation.
Some kind of apology (not the full self-flagellation the mainstream media craves) might not be such a bad idea. A little humility goes a long way.
It’s not in Trump’s character to apologize for anything. It’s probably not going to happen, and therefore nothing he, or Hannity, or McEnany says in his defense will matter. It will never be enough.
Personally, I think an apology would do the nation, and Trump’s re-election chances, a whole lot of good.
A simple “I should not have said that, because some might interpret it as my endorsement of groups I have previously condemned” would do it. Many people, not just the media, are waiting for some small sign that the president possesses even a subatomic quantity of humility.
Maybe testing positive for COVID-19, and being forced to quarantine will give Trump the perspective he needs to make a simple apology for using words he didn’t intend to use. Because if he won’t do it, his critics (and outright enemies) will simply assume he meant those words, and his condemnation will be worthless.
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