I will not repeat all the much-deserved criticism Trump’s Charlottesville remarks have drawn, but it is important to note that he also, apparently unintentionally, revealed his limited and distorted mental capacity and process.
He seemed completely focused on the very narrow point that it takes two to tango. And, it appeared that he was resting his “all/both sides” argument on his hope that he would be seen as having an open-minded and balanced view.
Instead he has revealed that he was/is incapable of weighing a denunciation of all political violence against a more specific condemnation of the white nationalists who took the streets in Charlottesville this weekend. He has spent the last few days digging himself deeper and deeper into a hole with which no red blooded American would agree.
He was saying that it takes two to tango—and that two wrongs do not make a right—which is a false equivalence for the ages. Indeed, he was also surely playing to the bigot in himself and his alt-right base, but his actions do not seem to be a coordinated or considered political strategy.
What we saw in Trump’s remarks was the real Trump. He was surprised by reporters on Tuesday and apparently, inadvertently let us all know where his true sympathies lie. A canny politician would have kept his mouth shut, but Trump continued to make himself even more toxic to the more moderate and moral members of his loyal constituency.
The indisputable reality is that he missed the obvious and overwhelming story, which was that the event was all about racism, Nazism, and white supremacy. By treating both sides as if they were equivalent, he effectively endorsed the racism on display.
It is difficult for America to deal with a bigoted, uncontrollable (and probably crazy) president. Up to now some people have said that despite his flaws, he is not stupid.
This moment provides the country with clear and convincing evidence, all over TV in his own words, that his thinking is distorted and limited in such a way that he is a permanent danger to the whole country.
The press is totally correct in their portrayal of this story, and need to keep pushing. Every time normal people see this on TV, more of them will part company with Trump to keep the country safe.