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Donald Trump is turning the presidency into a day care center for his troubled inner child

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- Commentary

This presidency is unconstitutional. The Constitution says you have to be at least 35 to serve in our highest office and our incumbent tantrum-in-a-suit is emotionally 6 years old.

Tuesday afternoon, Donald Trump held a press conference at which he undid whatever good he had accomplished the previous day when under duress he finally, finally came out and said “racism is evil,” and that the Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazis and white supremacists were bad, “repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans.” This had been an attempt to repair damage done by his equivocal and much criticized remarks on Saturday after the tragic events in Charlottesville.

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On Tuesday, though, Trump’s evil little twin had returned, backpedaling, whining, reverting to the moral ambiguity of Saturday and tripling down. Glenn Thrush and Maggie Haberman at The New York Times artfully summed it up:

President Trump buoyed the white nationalist movement on Tuesday as no president has done in generations — equating activists protesting racism with the neo-Nazis and white supremacists who rampaged in Charlottesville, Virginia, over the weekend.

Never has he gone as far in defending their actions as he did during a wild, street-corner shouting match of a news conference in the gilded lobby of Trump Tower, angrily asserting that so-called alt-left activists were just as responsible for the bloody confrontation as marchers brandishing swastikas, Confederate battle flags, anti-Semitic banners and ‘Trump/Pence’ signs.

Trump told the press that he had watched the Charlottesville protests “much more closely than you people” but also claimed he didn’t realize that David Duke was in attendance, even though on Saturday the notorious Ku Kluxer was strutting all over the airwaves. Impossible to miss. And the president said Friday night’s right-wing, torchlight parade across the University of Virginia campus consisted of  “people protesting very quietly,” even though the demonstrators terrorized men and women, including clergy, worshipping in a nearby church and chanted “Jews will not replace us” and “Blood and Soil,” an infamous Nazi rallying cry.

Trump insisted, “Not all of those people were neo-Nazis, believe me. Not all of those people were white supremacists by any stretch.” But as comedian Chris Rock tweeted, “If 10 guys think it’s OK to hang with 1 Nazi then they just became 11 Nazis.”

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President Trump attempted to give right- and left-wing protests equal weight, saying there was “blame on both sides” and “alt-left” groups also were “very, very violent.” But, The Times reports, such equivalence is ludicrous:

[O]verall, far-right extremist plots have been far more deadly than far-left plots (and Islamist plots eclipsed both) in the past 25 years, according to a breakdown of two terrorism databases by Alex Nowrasteh, an analyst at the libertarian Cato Institute.

White nationalists; militia movements; anti-Muslim attackers; IRS building and abortion clinic bombers; and other right-wing groups were responsible for 12 times as many fatalities and 36 times as many injuries as communists; socialists; animal rights and environmental activists; anti-white- and Black Lives Matter-inspired attackers; and other left-wing groups.

The perpetually truth-challenged Trump also chose the occasion of Tuesday afternoon’s cyclonic presser to state several times that he had delayed saying what he wanted to say because facts matter, that, “Before I make a statement, I need the facts, so I don’t want to rush into a statement.” Really? This never seems to have stopped him before.

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For sure I‘m not the first to make this analogy, but doesn’t Donald Trump make you think of the little kid in “It’s a Good Life,” that classic Twilight Zone episode? Everyone in his family has to obey his slightest, infantile whim. If they don’t, hideous fates await.

The Republican Party’s top command has been behaving like that family, almost all of them terrified of their childlike president for fear of his so-called base and his thundering tweets. On the weekend, after the vehicular homicide of Heather Heyer and injury of 19 others in that Charlottesville car attack, several GOP senators and congressmen briefly were vocal in condemning the violence, the white nationalism that triggered it and Trump’s mealy-mouthed “on many sides, on many sides” statement Saturday afternoon.

But on Monday, after Trump’s first revisioning of his Saturday statement, many of them came back around to him, terrified, perhaps, of being exiled to the cornfield. With any luck, Tuesday’s display of temperament, illogic and imprudence will force them to really mean it this time when they say this no longer can stand.

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And yet there was newly crowned Republican National Committee spokesperson Kayleigh McEnany tweeting Tuesday afternoon: “President @realDonaldTrump once again denounced hate today. The GOP stands behind his message of love and inclusiveness!”

Get a grip. This president is a disgrace. And Republican leadership, so are you, if you do not finally stand up to the man and insist that this must end.

Tuesday’s Trump event was supposed to be about plans for improving our infrastructure, about building America back up.

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But all Trump did was tear our country down.

This article was originally published at Moyers & Company


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Commentary

A historian explains why Trump’s anti-Semitism is uniquely bad

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In August, Donald Trump tweeted that Jewish Americans who vote for a Democrat are guilty of ignorance or “great disloyalty: “I think any Jewish people that vote for a Democrat, I think it shows either a lack of knowledge or great disloyalty.” Many commentators wrote that this assertion echoed the anti-Semitic trope that Jewish Americans have “dual loyalty” to Israel.

Donald Trump is certainly not the first president tainted by anti-Semitic feelings, but as is often the case with Trump, he goes further in a manner and direction distinctively different from his predecessors.

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2020 Election

We’d love to hear the Democratic debaters answer these six important questions this week– but we probably won’t hear them asked

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Here’s the thing about these election debates that continue on Tuesday: They are not working. That is, however effective at eliminating the worst fund-raisers, they do not serve as a good screen for the range of skills that we think make for a good president or good governing.

Rather, they are an expression of our societal obsession with voting people off the island for a momentary gaffe or noticing an ugliness in pursuit of self that seems a phrase too far. The truth is that none of the proposals being wickedly thrown across these stages will emerge whole in the maw of Congress and enactment.

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Breaking Banner

Both these things can be true: Donald Trump is a criminal — and impeachment is a murky, amoral struggle

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Nancy Pelosi and Donald Trump

Nothing is clear in this moment of grave peril for America, democracy and the world, not even the things that appear obvious. We stumble around in darkness, our vision obscured, awaiting a more perfect understanding, as in the famously evocative phrase of 1 Corinthians 13:12: “For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.”

This article first appeared in Salon.

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