Charlottesville: Trump sidesteps Ivanka tweet, leaves no fingerprints on condemning racism

“It’s been going on for a long time in our country”, US President Donald Trump said after a car plowed into a crowd of peaceful anti racist protestors Saturday in Charlottesville, Virginia, killing one woman and injuring at least 19.

With snarling faces, flares in their hands and armed with assault weapons, white supremacists walked the streets near the Blue Ridge mountains with second hand slogans from the Holocaust - “Unite the Right”, “blood and soil”, “Jew will not replace us”, “Do you want your grandson to be brown?”.

 Charlottesville: Trump sidesteps Ivanka tweet, leaves no fingerprints on condemning racism

A picture of Heather Heyer, the car ramming victim at the Charlottesville white supremacist rally / Reuters

Trump did not condemn, in clear and precise language, the ugly and naked racism of a sea of white racist men promising to deliver Trump’s promises.

What did Trump say instead that’s being celebrated as victory by the same racist men?

“We ALL must be united and condemn all that hate stands for. There is no place for this kind of violence in America. Lets come together as one!”

Although none of the white men or KKK supporters got killed, they are painting themselves as the victims in that part of Trump’s statement which fits best - “There is no place for this kind of violence in America.”


Because the local police turned out in riot gear.

“I’ve never been this offended in my life”, snarls one of the self proclaimed “thought criminals” who led the march of racist men with loaded guns slung onto their shoulders.

“Your head’s gonna spin, how many times we’re going to be back here . . . We’re going to make Charlottesville the center of the universe. We are US citizens, we have rights here”, is one of the many threats circulating on Twitter by those proclaiming a propaganda win for the white supremacists.

As clamour grew for Trump to name the villians, the White House stepped in and issued an add-on statement: “The President said very strongly in his statement yesterday that he condemns all forms of violence, bigotry, and hatred. Of course that includes white supremacists, KKK, neo-Nazi and all extremist groups”.

Trump is ‘deemed’ to have said it, but it hasn’t come from him, it’s not on his Twitter, it doesn’t have the Trump stamp on it.

On the same day, Donald Trump’s daughter Ivanka Trump posted on her handle that there should be “no place in society for racism, white supremacy and neo-nazis.” Fox, Trump’s pet telly network tweeted the same text superimposed on an outsize picture of Trump’s favourite daughter.

Trump, who routinely retweets Ivanka and Fox, hasn’t retweeted this one.

For the wingnuts, this is the crack where the light gets in.

When Trump wants to put his stamp on stuff, he does it with lightning speed and attitude - he’s been relentless on North Korea, tweeting non stop from his vacation home in Bedminster.

When Trump wants to raise the drawbridge on America’s borders back to the way it was before 1965, he makes a special appearance in the White House, he praises the RAISE Act to the skies.

It’s not what Trump said about racism in Charlottlesville that everyone’s talking about, it’s what he did not say.

It’s what they don’t say that fires up tight and jealous nationalism.

Not just in America.

Elsewhere too.

Look at these tweets, posted after the Charlottseville horror.

Trump is right. This has been going on for a long time.

Long before live video streaming gave us proof.

You feel it in the edge of a remark, a hard look, a car overtaking you from the left on a packed highway, an army of plus size men dressed in leather jackets and riding on Harley Davidsons tailgating you.

You see it in the discordant colours of wigs that many African Americans wear - blond, brunette, straight locks sitting atop matted hair, the unceasing striving to be more “like them”.

“Nobody talks about it, but they (the whites) don’t think we’re equal”, an African American woman says to me.

“That’s why we spend so much time at nail salons and parlours. We don’t have straight hair and lighter skin but we do have nice eyes and eyelashes so we take a lot of time to accentuate that which the whites envy”, she continued.

“I spend at least an hour in front of the mirror before I get to work. It’s important”, she says.

This conversation happened in McLean, one of the state’s toniest urban neighbourhoods, where Narendra Modi came to address the Indian diaspora, where the CIA headquarters resides.

That place called Charlottesville in not urban America. It’s a good 80 miles from the burbs where Washington DC’s office goers live in Virginia.

Charlottlesville is where you go to see the scarlet and crimson colours of Fall, it’s the visual mooring for John Denver’s “Take me home, country roads”, it’s where brown and black skin tones are like warts which erupt seasonally, colours that don’t belong.

These are places where the silent majority that Trump wooed easelessly is now baring its white fangs. These are not big, cosmopolitan cities but remote towns, where racism is swaddled by the things politicians won’t say.

Trump isn’t the only man who doesn’t leave fingerprints.

Trump is in your workplace.

Look around you, check your phone.

It’s the retweet that hasn’t yet happened, the mail that hasn’t been answered.

Trump is right. It's been going on for a long time.

This is what's new: After similar attacks in Nice, London and Palestine, the speeding car has arrived as a new murder weapon in the USA.

Updating: A full 48 hours after the violence in Charlottesville and considerable pressure from all around plus his daughter's (undeniable) influence, Trump called out the KKK, white supremacists by name.

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Updated Date: Aug 15, 2017 16:41:22 IST