Out of Business, Washington and Lee
Thursday, August 17, 2017
Vol. 6, No. 218
Out of Business: Business leaders, the military, and some Republicans turned on President Trump yesterday. Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell, responding to Trump’s claim that there were some “very fine” people among the white nationalists marching in Charlottesville said, “There are no good neo-Nazis.”
The President was up and tweeting his defense this morning. “The public is learning (even more so) how dishonest the Fake News is. They totally misrepresent what I say about hate, bigotry etc. Shame!”
After a string of resignations, the President’s Strategic and Policy Forum, a group of corporate executives, met yesterday by phone and disbanded.
Addressing the President’s remarks, a statement from the group said, “Intolerance, racism and violence have absolutely no place in this country and are an affront to core American values.”
Some of the members included Laurence Fink of BlackRock, Ginni Rometty of IBM, Rich Lesser of the Boston Consulting Group and Toby Cosgrove of the Cleveland Clinic.
In an attempt to avoid further embarrassment, President Trump within minutes announced that he is ending his corporate advisory councils, after the barn was already empty. He tweeted, “Rather than putting pressure on the businesspeople of the Manufacturing Council & Strategy & Policy Forum, I am ending both. Thank you all!”
Trump also appears to be in open conflict now with the military chiefs of staff, all five of whom issued statements decrying racism and bigotry, without mentioning their commander-in-chief by name. They have to be careful not to plunge head first into politics, but they got their message out.
The Good German: In the controversy over removal of Confederate memorials, President Trump’s lawyer John Dowd sent journalists an email saying Gen. Robert E. Lee and George Washington were equally great men. He pointed out that both owned slaves and “Both saved America,” which in Lee’s case requires imaginative thinking. “You cannot be against General Lee and be for General Washington,” the email reads, “there literally is no difference between the two men.”
Robert E. Lee has garnered an outsized reputation for honor and decency, which, Adam Serwer wrote for The Atlantic in June, Lee does not at all deserve.
Lee was a slave owner who flogged his slaves, sometimes personally, and believed that negroes were better off as slaves than home in Africa.
Lee once wrote, “The painful discipline they are undergoing, is necessary for their instruction as a race, & I hope will prepare & lead them to better things. How long their subjugation may be necessary is known & ordered by a wise Merciful Providence. Their emancipation will sooner result from the mild & melting influence of Christianity, than the storms & tempests of fiery Controversy.”
Blood and Soil: Despite President Trump’s declaration that there were some good people who marched in Charlottesville Saturday, they were chanting the Nazi slogan “Blood and Soil,” and “Jews will not replace us.”
Emma Green writes for The Atlantic that anti-Semitism is closely related to the kind of overt racism on display In Charlottesville. “In the world sketched by white supremacists,” she writes, “Jews hover malevolently in the background, pulling strings, controlling events, acting as an all-powerful force backing and enabling the other targets of their hate. That’s clear in statements made by people like Duke, the former Ku Klux Klan leader who proudly marched with other white supremacists in Charlottesville. Jewish Zionists, he complained to a gathered crowd, control the media and American political system.”
Open Carry: Demonstrations like the one in Charlottesville Saturday have been increasingly attended by people exercising “open carry” gun laws, often slinging assault rifles and dressed in combat gear. Writer David Frum in The Atlantic reminds that in June, gun-toters rallied at a Sam Houston statue, following a rumor that it was going to be removed. Last year when a sniper opened fire on the cops during a Black Lives march, Dallas police had to sort out about 20 men armed with assault rifles.
Frum asks in his essay, “What can be done? We can begin by acknowledging that America’s ranching days are behind it. Within metropolitan areas, there is no reason—zero—that a weapon should ever be carried openly. The purpose is always to intimidate—to frighten others away from their lawful rights, not only free speech and lawful assembly, but voting as well.”
Remembered: Hundreds of people packed a memorial in downtown Charlottesville yesterday for Heather Heyer, the 32-year-old woman run down by a neo-Nazi driver. Many of the attendees wore purple, Heyer’s favorite color.
Heyer’s mother said her daughter was outraged by racism and injustice. Susan Bro said from the podium, “I’d rather have my child, but by golly if I gotta give her up, we’re gonna make it count.”
By Appointment: The President has named 28-year-old Hope Hicks to be his interim director of communications while the search goes on for a replacement of the short-lived Anthony Scaramucci. As director of strategic communications, Hicks already holds sway over which journalists get interviews with the President. She was a spokeswoman for the campaign and joined the Trump camp originally through public relations work.
The new job for the model-beautiful Hicks will be putting lipstick on a pig.