President Donald Trump spins so much that even trying to keep all his truths, lies and subsequent lies about his truths can make you dizzy. But let’s try and think back a bit to that deadly “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Va., in 2017, when the president of people who were wearing khakis and spouting hate-filled shit claimed that there were “very fine people on both sides” of the violent white nationalist racist clusterfuck.
We heard it, the president’s detractors heard it, the president’s allies heard it, those that respond to the president’s racist dog whistles definitely heard it. He said it. He meant it. It happened, and for two years it lived as the sound clip that proved without argument that the president is a white nationalist who supports white nationalism.
Now, after being attacked by newly announced Democratic hopeful Joe Biden for the comments he made during the white supremacy march, the president of people who sport white man Hitler fades decided to try and spin arguably his most notorious sound clip by doubling down on the statements but telling reporters outside the White House that he didn’t mean the comments about the marchers but rather the supporters of Robert E. Lee’s statue.
Confused? Don’t worry. So is the president, and this is what happens when you speak out of both sides of your neck.
Trump told reporters outside the White House that he didn’t mean to describe white nationalists, neo-Nazis and other extremists as “very fine people,” as he did during a news conference back then. Rather, he claims he was talking about the people protesting the removal of the Robert E. Lee statue in Charlottesville ― a glaringly false statement, given that everyone who participated in the “Unite The Right” torch march on Aug. 11 and rally on Aug. 12 was a neo-Nazi or a white supremacist, and they came to commit violence.
“I was talking about people that went because they felt very strongly about the monument to Robert E. Lee,” Trump said, according to CNN’s Kaitlan Collins. “People there were protesting the taking down of the monument to Robert E. Lee. Everybody knows that.”
No one knows that. Not one person in America knows that. Because it’s total and utter bullshit; not even remotely close to the truth. If the truth is the Avengers, this claim is Thanos’ thumb and first finger right before they snap.
In fact, “Unite the Right” organizers would tell you that this is bullshit. The rally wasn’t even promoted as a rally to support Lee’s statue, which had become controversial, yet still stands, it was merely a backdrop for two days of white supremacist violence that left one protester dead and several dozen wounded.
The event was actually pushed as a gathering of “pro-white” groups and included such white supremacy top headliners like Christopher Cantwell (known not-so-affectionately as the “cryin’ Nazi”) and Richard Spencer, HuffPost reports.
But let’s just say that Trump revisionist lying purports that the event was about Robert E. Lee. Lee’s own descendent called him an “idol of white supremacy,” which would make an event surrounding him a celebration of a white supremacy general.
“Whether you like it or not, he was one of the great generals,” Trump said, according to a tweet by Washington Post columnist Josh Rogin. Trump then did the thing that everyone on his staff does when they are trying to push a claim that is mostly likely bullshit; he claimed that “several” active-duty generals have told them that Lee was their “favorite general.”
How would that conversation take place? How would an active duty-general tell this to the president? Does the president talk regularly with active duty-generals? Do these generals have a ranking of their favorite generals? Do they randomly tell the president who they like the most?
This entire about-face by the president proves a few things: The president lies the way that most men lie when they’ve been caught cheating on their spouse. Most men don’t think before they speak; they just randomly throw out shit and then hope that it’s never looked into. Most of us just say whatever comes to mind to get out of the conversation and to get ourselves back in good favor. If pressed about it, we will claim that whoever is speaking against us (for Trump this is the media) are merely haters that don’t want to see us balling.
The second or more interesting assessment here is that former Vice President Joe Biden featured footage of the Charlottesville rally in his announcement of his presidential run and that seemed to get under Trump’s pasty skin. Sure, Biden used the president’s most infamous sound bite against him and basically used the violence of Charlottesville as a political prop, but this is politics. It will be fun watching the president squirm and try to deny all of the impending damage that’s heading his way, because Biden is going to be a presidential problem and Trump already knows this.