Monday, August 14, 2017
Oh sure, Don, We Believe You.
Finally, under enormous pressure for two days, Donald Trump has denounced the radical rightwing thugs that savaged Charlottesville on Saturday.
It's bullshit of course. He doesn't mean it. Those thugs are Trump's people, his Freikorps. They're also an essential component of his political base.
Perhaps Trump has had an epiphany. Perhaps he's finally come to his senses. Perhaps he know grasps the magnitude of what actually transpired in Charlottesville on Saturday. Perhaps he has turned against the fascists, the white nationalists, the Klan and the white supremacists. Nonsense.
If Trump had come around you would see at least three individuals carrying out boxes of their personal stuff from the White House - Sebastian Gorka, Stephen Miller and Steve Bannon. There's no sign of that.
Consider this from The New Republic:
The Atlantic reported that national security advisor General H.R. McMaster had removed a former Pentagon official named Rich Higgins from the National Security Council after discovering that Higgins had written and circulated a paranoid and wildly inappropriate memo, which argues that conducting “political warfare” against Trump’s enemies is a matter of dire urgency for the country.
Last week, Foreign Policy obtained the memo and published it online. It is seven pages long and completely demented. Higgins posits a vast alliance spanning establishment Republicans and Marxists who together with Islamists employ “Maoist insurgency” tactics, including the formation of a “counter-state” which “function[s] as a hostile competing state acting within an existing state,” aimed at eventually “seizing state power.” It is all the way around the bend. But its existence is no accident, and its content reflects a non-outlying viewpoint, held by many senior officials in the administration, including the president himself. According to Foreign Policy, the memo made its way from the NSC to Donald Trump’s eldest son. Trump, Jr. reportedly shared it with his father who “gushed over it” and became “furious” when he learned that Higgins had been fired.
The memo is, in a critical sense, a governing incarnation of the notorious pro-Trump treatise “The Flight 93 Election,” published in September of last year. That essay, nearly as unmoored from reality, held out similar enemies as foils to motivate Trump-skeptical conservatives to vote for him nonetheless. First, saving the country from imagined forces like “cultural marxism,” and real forces like white demographic decline, required conservatives to abandon their moral bearings. Now that he’s president, it requires enlisting the national security apparatus into political war against those same enemies—their own countrymen. “The Flight 93 Election” was published pseudonymously, then revealed to have been written by Michael Anton, who now serves—where else?—on Trump’s National Security Council.
The arrival of these ugly people and their ugly views into the halls of power would be alarming even if they hadn’t infiltrated the security services. Upon Trump’s election, the National Rifle Association transformed almost overnight from an organization that posed as a civil liberties advocacy group into, essentially, a pro-government paramilitary outfit. The fantasy of mowing protesters over with cars became so potent among Trump’s core supporters that Republicans in several states introduced legislation aimed at indemnifying motorists who strike protesters with motor vehicles.
The killing in Charlottesville wasn’t an unintended consequence of allowing white supremacists to coexist with others in the conservative coalition. It was the realization of concerted efforts to make their vision of politics a dominant strand within the party. That white supremacists and Nazis feel redeemed by Trump’s election, permitted by his words to stir up more Charlottesvilles, isn’t a consequence Trump and his brigade of racists have simply made peace with. It’s the thing in itself.