The word from the White House is that the events at Charlottesville are behind them now, and they’re ready to move on. Sure, there is still some fallout from the 12 August march by neo-Nazis, white supremacists and the Ku Klux Klan, as well as from Donald Trump’s subsequent declaration that those racists and fascists who carried flaming torches and swastika flags included some “very fine people”. There are reverberations too from the president’s initial non-condemnation condemnation, in which if he saw “hatred, bigotry and violence” at all, he saw it “on many sides”.
One such aftershock came today, when Gary Cohn, Trump’s chief economic adviser, told the Financial Times the administration “must do better” in denouncing such groups unequivocally, and that, “as a Jewish-American”, he had considered resignation. Still, the message from Team Trump is that all this is in the past. They want the focus to switch to the legislative battles ahead, especially to their plan to give a gargantuan tax cut to the richest people and corporations in America.
They might just get away with it. One of the dizzying lessons of this presidency is that outrage can be dulled by outrage, that fury at one atrocious act is hard to sustain if fury at another soon replaces it. Consider that only four weeks ago Trump all but called for police brutality, telling an audience of uniformed officers they had no need to treat suspects gently. Or that a week or so later he took the world to the brink of nuclear confrontation with North Korea. There is a numbing effect to the frequency of such horrors. We become…
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