Governor Chris Sununu, in response to President Trump’s impromptu news conference at Trump Tower, which was supposed to be about infrastructure, but quickly became all about Charlottesville:
In a nutshell, that narrative is that ALL the “counter-protesters,” including Antifa, were there to oppose the “racism and hatred” of the neo-Nazis, white-supremacists and anti-semitics (from here on, white-supremacists for short); that Trump was engaging in “moral equivalency” when he said “many sides” shared blame for the violence in Charlottesville; and that this “moral equivalency” emboldens white-supremacists. And explicitly in some cases, but more often by insinuation, that Trump engages in this “moral equivalency” because he is sympathetic to white-supremacists and/or does not want to alienate his base, a sizable number of whom are white-supremacistss.
There is so much wrong with this narrative that it is hard to know where to begin.
To begin with, Trump did not say that there was a moral equivalency between the white-supremacists and all the counter-protesters when he blamed “many sides” for the violence in Charlottesville. He was referring to violent counter-protesters, such as Antifa. From Daniel Payne in the Federalist:
Trump appears to separate the generalized violence of that Saturday afternoon from the vehicular homicide a white nationalist perpetrated on Charlottesville’s mall near the end of the whole affair. In the press conference, Trump stated in no uncertain terms: “The driver of the car is a murderer. What he did was a horrible, inexcusable thing.”
There were numerous eyewitness accounts of Antifa engaging in violence in Charlottesville. From a New York Times reporter who was present:
Nor in the interest of completeness -although I do not think that Sununu’s tweet repeated this particular calumny- did Trump say that some white-supremacists were “good people.” From David Limbaugh:
But I don’t believe for a second that Trump is a racist or that he approves of white supremacy, neo-Nazism, anti-Semitism or any other form of racism or bigotry. I think that what he meant was that there are good people among those defending the monuments. And it appears that most Americans agree with that, despite the media’s conscious effort to suggest otherwise. Recent polls show that some 62 percent of Americans support preserving the monuments as historic symbols, and 67 percent of Republicans approve of Trump’s statement on Charlottesville. Do any of you really want to claim that 62 percent of Americans or 67 percent of Republicans are bigots?
Next point. There clearly is a degree of moral equivalency between the white-supremacists and Antifa. A mark of fascism is limiting speech by any means, including violence and Antifa regularly employs mob-violence to shut down any -not just white-supremacist- speech that it does not agree with. From Guy Benson at Townhall:
A national discussion about political violence must include the obviously relevant fascistic thuggery of Antifa Leftists. … Antifa’s brutality and violence hasn’t merely been limited to the horrible spectacle in Virginia. They’ve assaulted Trump supporters at political events, they’ve rioted to prevent others’ exercise of free speech rights, and they’ve used threats and intimidation to cancel civic events in which Republicans planned to participate.
Yet the elite-Left and Sununu are adamant that there is no equivalency at all. That one side wears a black hat and the other white hat. The reality is nothing like that.
Stated somewhat differently, just because someone fights Nazis does not make that person a good person. Stalin fought the Nazis. Stalin also was a mass-murderer who killed millions of his own people and oppressed hundreds of millions. Are we supposed to overlook that Stalin was a mass-murderer because he fought the Nazis? Nor should we overlook that Antifa is composed of anarchists who use violence to suppress any speech they disagree with because Antifa fought white-supremacists in Charlotte. Yet that is exactly what the elite-Left’s Charlottesville narrative and Sununu’s tweet does.
Final point. If you say Trump is emboldening white supremacists, then you must say that the elite-Left and Sununu are emboldening Antifa and groups like Antifa. From David Harsanyi at the Federalist:
None of the president’s shortcomings, however, change reality. If you believe his comments emboldened white supremacists, your insistence that leftist violence doesn’t exist does the same for other groups — who, while perhaps not always as ugly, are far more prevalent.