Mitt Romney rose to the occasion. I take back some of the stuff I've said about him.
Unlike the mealy responses of other Republican leaders, who bravely said some words suggesting they don't like racism and Nazis all that much, but failed to address the "president" directly, he had this to say, as posted on Facebook. In full:
I will dispense for now from discussion of the moral character of the president's Charlottesville statements. Whether he intended to or not, what he communicated caused racists to rejoice, minorities to weep, and the vast heart of America to mourn. His apologists strain to explain that he didn't mean what we heard. But what we heard is now the reality, and unless it is addressed by the president as such, with unprecedented candor and strength, there may commence an unravelingof our national fabric.
The leaders of our branches of military service have spoken immediately and forcefully, repudiating the implications of the president's words. Why? In part because the morale and commitment of our forces--made up and sustained by men and women of all races--could be in the balance. Our allies around the world are stunned and our enemies celebrate; America's ability to help secure a peaceful and prosperous world is diminished. And who would want to come to the aid of a country they perceive as racist if ever the need were to arise, as it did after 9/11?
In homes across the nation, children are asking their parents what this means. Jews, blacks, Hispanics, Muslims are as much a part of America as whites and Protestants. But today they wonder. Where might this lead? To bitterness and tears, or perhaps to anger and violence?
The potential consequences are severe in the extreme. Accordingly, the president must take remedial action in the extreme. He should address the American people, acknowledge that he was wrong, apologize. State forcefully and unequivocally that racists are 100% to blame for the murder and violence in Charlottesville. Testify that there is no conceivable comparison or moral equivalency between the Nazis--who brutally murdered millions of Jews and who hundreds of thousands of Americans gave their lives to defeat--and the counter-protestors who were outraged to see fools parading the Nazi flag, Nazi armband and Nazi salute.
And once and for all, he must definitively repudiate the support of David Duke and his ilk and call for every American to banish racists and haters from any and every association.
This is a defining moment for President Trump. But much more than that, it is a moment that will define America in the hearts of our children. They are watching, our soldiers are watching, the world is watching. Mr. President, act now for the good of the country.
Good on ya, Mitt. You crystallized the deeper and future impact of having a president who claims there are "very fine people" among Nazis and white supremacists. The world, and, more importantly, America's children are listening. The ones, that is, not already brainwashed to ruination by their parents of the Charlottesville marching kind.
Online and elsewhere, people still defend Trump. Either they're too stupid to see the implications, as Mitt Romney stated, or they don't give a shit. More important to them to be able to make up for their self-loathing by hating everyone else.
The "president" of the United States has, yet again, branded us as a rogue nation, a stupid, hateful nation. We need a hell of a lot more than lip service from Congressional Republicans. They need to rid us of him.