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When is Terrorism not Terrorism?

When it is committed by someone from a group of people who voted for Donald Trump. You know, like white supremacists.

Even The Economist, normally not overly concerned with civil rights, condemned Trump:

DEEP down, it is always about him. What the world thinks of him. The applause that is his due. The glory that enemies are trying to take from him. That, perhaps, is how best to understand the cramped, self-regarding moral code which seems to guide Donald Trump at moments which call for grand, inspiring acts of leadership.

To understand why Mr Trump could not bring himself to condemn white supremacists who brought fear and murderous violence to the Virginia college town of Charlottesville on Saturday, some Americans sought vast, dramatic explanations. They puzzled over the president’s mealy-mouthed reaction to the sight of Nazi banners waving in their country. They fretted about Mr Trump’s muted response to what appeared to be a political murder, as a car was driven at speed into a group of anti-racist marchers in Charlottesville, leaving one woman dead and at least 19 injured. And then some of those Americans peered into the moral void left by their president on a terrible day, and wondered if somewhere within that blankness they could make out something very dark and frightening indeed. Does the president of America sympathise with white racists, they wondered? Or at a minimum, does Mr Trump believe the votes of white racists to be so important that he does not want to alienate them as a voting block?

Politicians on both sides of the aisle condemned Trump. Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) said “What ‘White Nationalists’ are doing in Charlottesville is homegrown terrorism that can’t be tolerated.” Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) agreed, “White supremacy is a scourge. This hate and its terrorism must be confronted and defeated.” Senator John McCain (R-AZ) declared “White supremacists aren’t patriots, they’re traitors—Americans must unite against hatred & bigotry.”

It seems like the only people who didn’t condemn white supremacists was Trump, Senator Ted Cruz, VP Mike Pence, and AG Jeff Sessions.

UPDATE: Ted Cruz finally changed his mind and condemned the white supremacists and their domestic terrorism. Still waiting for anyone inside the Trump administration to do the same.

© Brian McFadden

Also published on Medium.



  1. ThatGuy wrote:

    It does look like even Cruz came around.

    Sunday, August 13, 2017 at 9:26 am | Permalink
  2. Wildwood wrote:

    But her emails.

    If he offends the nazi-alt-right, he has no support remaining. Then there’s the fact that he is one.

    Sunday, August 13, 2017 at 9:29 am | Permalink
  3. ebdoug wrote:

    Interesting, the mother of the boy who killed the 32 year old woman in Charlottesville with his car (5 more in critical condition) has never heard the term Alt-Right and thought her son was going to a Trump rally. That just shows the ignorance.

    Sunday, August 13, 2017 at 9:47 am | Permalink
  4. PatriotSGT wrote:

    When will we also call the alt-left Antifa out for its acts of terrorism? Burning and destroying and assaulting. Ohh that’s right, it’s a left organization. Approved by the left leaders.

    I disapprove of the supremists in the harshest terms possible.

    Sunday, August 13, 2017 at 3:05 pm | Permalink
  5. ThatGuy wrote:

    I don’t recall anyone in power on the left ignoring the Alexandria shootings. But our president surely seems uncomfortable disavowing white supremacists or the violence against protesters. Maybe because he encouraged such violence on the campaign trail.

    But sure, let’s try to divert attention from a murder to vague assertions of Antifa terrorism.

    Sunday, August 13, 2017 at 4:25 pm | Permalink
  6. PatriotSGT wrote:

    I don’t know Thatguy the President said this:

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

    But I suppose it wasn’t enough or the correct language.

    Sunday, August 13, 2017 at 5:31 pm | Permalink
  7. TJ wrote:

    No, it wasn’t enough and it wasn’t the correct language. Your sarcasm was sadly spot on. If you really need it spelled out for you please go and re-read Iron Knee’s original post like 100 times.

    Monday, August 14, 2017 at 12:12 am | Permalink
  8. PatriotSGT wrote:

    TJ no matter what this president says it is always attacked. As either to tough or too soft or (substitute any number of opposites)

    I would welcome the opportunity to discuss any topic set with any PI reader. I would prefer to do this in person or at least by phone. I think some discussion by social media is good, but there are topics that should be discussed the ole fashioned way, which sadly is how we’ve come to be so divided politically. The art of talking over a cup of coffee or a beer is fading. IK could set it up by passing interested parties their emails for them to make arrangements. I live and work in the Baltimore/DC area. Admittedly, I don’t have the time or talent to debate subjects of great complexity via social media.

    Monday, August 14, 2017 at 2:28 am | Permalink
  9. Jonah wrote:

    It seems obvious there is a going to be a core group of people who will defend their president no matter what. And there will also be a core group of people who will criticise a president they dislike no matter what. Obama was constantly criticised for not using the words extremist Islam or something along those lines. Trump refuses to criticise white nationalists and Putin.

    What’s also obvious is Trumps’s hypocrisy. If there’s a n incident involving a muslim, rain or shine, night or day, there’s a tweet within a few seconds from our leader. If there’s anything else like the opioid crisis or global warming both of which have destroyed a lot of people or could destroy in the future, a response from Trump is like someone with constipation trying to take a dump. Painful and comes out with extreme resistance.

    The president is stupid and incompetent. Even one of its most ardent supporters admits it.

    The only people holding this thing together in my opinion are people admired in the military like Mcmaster, kelly amnd mattis and people admired in the finance world like cohn and mnuchin. One false move and the lipstick on this pig is going to be washed away.

    Monday, August 14, 2017 at 4:08 am | Permalink
  10. Ralph wrote:

    Jonah – you took the words right out of my mouth.

    Pat – Trump has had no problem to date calling out the various objects of his disdain by name, whether it’s Rosie, Mika, Lyin’ Ted, Little Marco, Crooked Hillary, low energy JEB, or any number of others, including Mitch McConnell of late. Twenty years ago, he was interviewed about his possibly running for office and his party identification and brought up David Duke by name, on his own, as someone he thought was repugnant who identified as Republican, but during the campaign played stupid about even knowing anything about him, like he was hearing the name for the very first time. This from a man who has claimed to literally be one of the smartest men on the planet and “knows all the best words”. Sorry, can’t have it both ways.

    He repeatedly slammed Obama and Hillary for their reluctance to use the the term “radical Islamic terrorism” but just couldn’t manage to mouth the term “white nationalist racism” or otherwise verbally denounce David Duke and the KKK, neo-Nazis and related groups over the weekend during his statement. That, my patriotic friend, is no accident, pure and simple. Even Republican members of Congress are calling him out for coming up short here. This may finally be their look in the mirror moment.

    Meanwhile, Pence is out there twisting himself into a pretzel trying to, in the words of our favorite half-term governor, put lipstick on this pig. Sad.

    Monday, August 14, 2017 at 5:44 am | Permalink
  11. Ed wrote:

    When is Terrorism not Terrorism? When someone calls the terrorist a “government employee”.

    Monday, August 14, 2017 at 7:04 am | Permalink
  12. Jonah wrote:

    Trump’s quick to tweet about muslims and certain type’s of people he’s displeased with. Today its Merck CEO Ken Frazier, an african american, who resigned from the Manufacturing council

    Interestingly there weren’t any tweets when Bob Iger and Elon Musk resigned. Wonder what the key difference between Musk, Eiger and Frazier is?????

    Monday, August 14, 2017 at 8:58 am | Permalink
  13. Ralph wrote:

    Jonah – given Trump’s promise on the campaign trail to work for lower and more transparent drug prices (something I think all consumers would support), one could give him the benefit of the doubt that Frazier’s resignation from the council was an opportunity to bring this issue back onto his Twitter rage target list. But to forego an opportunity to likewise target Musk, however, a staunch proponent of renewable energy (and by inference, no friend of fossil fuels like coal), is telling, in that he’s tweeted a lot more about climate change being a hoax (perpetrated by China to sap our resources) than anything about drug pricing, an issue he showed little interest in until recently.

    The man clearly knows how to discriminate loudly, proudly, and perhaps even subconsciously. He could star in one of those Geico commercials. It’s what he does.

    Monday, August 14, 2017 at 1:30 pm | Permalink
  14. PatriotSGT wrote:

    Ok, finally someone said what I was think, but much better then I ever could have. I agree 100% with this line of common sense thinking. Before you dismiss and attack the messenger, if you really are interested in moving the conversation forward then simply read this with an open mind.

    Monday, August 14, 2017 at 4:55 pm | Permalink
  15. David Freeman wrote:

    I was in Charlottesville.
    The wrong story is being reported and even Progressives are complicit in perpetuating a false narrative.
    There are ONLY two sides to this. The White Supremacists with their Republican enablers are the wrong side. Everyone else needs to pull together despite our differences.
    When I followed the call from Congregate C’Ville for clergy to come defend Charlottesville from Nazis l knew my belief in nonviolence was well grounded, solid. Frankly, I had no patience with anyone advocating violence to advance social justice (this is an issue of tactics not self defense).
    I am still stalwart in my devotion to nonviolence but now, after Charlottesville, the story is more complex and nuanced.
    Please bear with me, I believe this is important and will not be short.
    First what happened:
    We were called to help and many of us, perhaps a couple hundred, volunteered to risk arrest standing to prevent Nazis entering the park for a major rally designed to intimidate the community of Charlottesville.
    This rally to be was not an isolated event that could be ignored. This was to be the culmination of many weeks of intimidation. This town has been under siege. Bands of Nazi and KKK have been entering cafes or swaggering through the streets and following people to their cars with guns on display. The state has done nothing to protect Charlottesville citizens from threats. We could not allow this to become the new normal. We hoped that by taking a stand and being arrested for doing the state’s job, the state would be embarrassed into doing their job to protect people.
    Friday night almost a thousand people met in St. Paul’s Memorial Church for a Prayer Service in preparation to confront the next day’s racist rally. Nearly two hundred of us had received nonviolent civil disobedience training earlier in the day. We were prepared for arrest.
    Everything changed.
    Hundreds of Nazis surrounded a much smaller group of student protestors across the street from our church. The police did nothing. Nazis pelted students with flaming tiki torches. The police did nothing. A group of Nazis broke off and came outside our church to intimidate us and block our exit. We called the police. They did nothing.
    We were prepared for arrest but if the police do nothing that only leaves us at the mercy of the Nazis.
    Leadership had always emphasized that in addition to arrest there was the possibility of injury. With police inaction, the threat level was reassessed to likely injury, possibility of death.
    By morning monitoring of the situation increased the danger level again. We had hoped to have hundreds blocking access to the park. Facing police is one thing. Facing Nazis with police nearby to intervene is another story. Facing Nazis with police nearby who will NOT intervene is a whole another story.
    After standing in line before the militia as a relatively large group and sharing prayers or statements for justice, a smaller group proceeded to the stairs on the only open entrance to the park. 19 clergy and one atheist intended to symbolically block roving bands of Nazis from returning to the hundreds gathered behind us.
    A group of Nazis advanced towards us. A band of AntiFa stepped up to defend the clergy, we asked them to step back and allow us to make our nonviolent stand. They respected our request and reluctantly backed off. We were actually surprised they complied. They said that they disagreed with our tactics but appreciated and respected us. Respect breeds respect. After perhaps a hundred Nazis broke through our line we regrouped but an even larger Nazi force started towards us. The AntiFa rushed in and broke the Nazi charge. We did not ask for them. We were prepared to be beaten. However, we all respected that they defended us in love despite our disagreement on tactics. They certainly saved 19 clergy and me from a brutal beating and likely even death. They did what the police would not do all day. They defended innocent lives. I cannot criticize them for that. I thank them. When this happens again, we will ask them to stand down again but I will not paint them all with a broad violent brush. Many of these people are more like our fathers in WWII than the hooligans they are portrayed as.
    We don’t have to agree with each other.
    We don’t even have to understand each other.
    But to defeat the rising tide of White Supremacism in our country we much respect our allies in struggle and hopefully coordinate and cooperate but at least not cut each other down.
    That will be hard. We’re all angry and frustrated and frayed. Some of us will lash out. Try to understand when this happens. Try to receive the verbal blow and perhaps learn something. Maybe I need a good kick in the pants despite my good intentions. Maybe they’re just mistaken or lashing out. Either way shouting back won’t help.
    Let’s try to work together.
    I used to be a purist on nonviolence in protests. I still am but I’m not going to harshly judge people who may have saved my life out of love just because some were also itching for a fight with those who promote outright murder.
    It just might be the case that the civil rights victories of the 60s may have required Malcom X, MLK Jr. and Black Power in all its manifestations.
    I really don’t know but I ain’t judging anybody, including AntiFa, any more if they’re fighting for justice.

    Monday, August 14, 2017 at 10:27 pm | Permalink
  16. Iron Knee wrote:

    Thank you so much David for posting that. I too have misgivings about quite a few things that happened. It is good to hear what it was like on the ground there.

    And indeed, there was eventually a murder (and other injuries), committed by one of the white supremacists. I’m really glad to hear that you are ok.

    Monday, August 14, 2017 at 10:46 pm | Permalink
  17. Jonah wrote:

    Ralph, I have a couple of issues with generalised twitter and social media rage on pharma/biotech companies. One, not all pharma companies are commit price gouging so lumping everyone into one basket is unfair. Merck is a company, based on what I’ve studied, that has done reasonably well to limit prices. Its HCV drugs are well below those from Gilead. Its other main drug Keytruda treats cancer. They should do more and getting lower dosages approved but Merck is not a company that charges outrageous prices for me too drugs. The generalised outrage at pharma companies could end up reducing investment in the industry and that will definitely slow down any progress in newer treatments involving gene therapy and immuno oncology. Merck and Bristol Myers did not invent PD-1 immuno oncology drugs by themselves. They both purchased other smaller companies that had done the research. Small gene therapy companies like Avexis and Bluebird are on the verge of making better treatments for spinal disorders and blood disorders. My point is that its the smaller biotech companies that truly innovate and they need money. Rather than dissuade investment in the area Trump and even liberals like Sanders should focus on the true offenders like Shrkeli and specialty pharma’s like Mallindkrot, horizon Pharma and a few others. Scott Gottlied the new FDA commissioner has already taken some admirable steps to reduce exorbitant price increases such as making generic and biosimilar drug approvals a priority and also making public a list of generic drugs that have a shortage in the market.

    I think politicians need to be smart and targeted to solve problems. Obama made, what i thought was a similar mistake, in making general statements about wealthy people using terms such as “fat cats”. In an era of social media gone crazy statements such as these are disingenuous and dangerous. I would bet Trump lashed out more in anger at being slighted than having a real interest in reducing drug prices.

    Tuesday, August 15, 2017 at 3:53 am | Permalink
  18. Jonah wrote:

    Glad you are ok David and I admire you for doing what you did. It takes a lot of courage.

    Too bad the left wing anarchists are reducing significance of the work that people like you do. They definitely need to be held to the same standard as the extreme right wingers.

    Tuesday, August 15, 2017 at 3:56 am | Permalink
  19. Jonah wrote:

    Slavitt on Frazier being one of the good guys regarding drug pricing

    Tuesday, August 15, 2017 at 6:45 am | Permalink
  20. Jonah wrote:

    Important to note though that the right wing movement is more vicious than the left

    Tuesday, August 15, 2017 at 7:05 am | Permalink
  21. Wildwood wrote:

    David Freeman, so glad you came through unscathed. What a brave soul you are. And thanks so much for sharing your views and experiences during that horrible time. I had not heard about the roving bands intimidating people. And it certainly makes you wonder about the police and their ability or inability to respond to such events. Or maybe it should be their “will” to respond. It seems to me, that when things like this are known to be occurring that either the state guard or the national guard need to be called in before things get out of hand. If there are armed roving gangs we need to let them know ASAP that this will not be tolerated.

    I also hope that the no license needed, open carry laws that are so prevalent now, be rethought. I was amazed that with all those armed people that more deaths did not occur. I’m going to copy and paste your writings so that I have it to show others. Thanks for the post.

    Tuesday, August 15, 2017 at 9:36 am | Permalink
  22. PatriotSGT wrote:

    Well done David. That is a shining example of how to effectively counter vile hate.
    It reminds me of when the Westbrook baptist thugs would glorify soldiers killed in a war zone as god’s retribution for America tolerating LGBTQ’s. The Patriot motorcycle riders would create a wall between the grieving family and the Westboro haters.
    Thank You!

    Where were the police and National guardsmen during all this. They should never have let the 2 sides get within striking distance.

    Tuesday, August 15, 2017 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

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