Yesterday he finally got around to blaming the people actually responsible for the Charlottesville violence, the racists, and the alt-right (who just happen to include some of his most loyal and fanatical supporters).
Today, he stepped in it again, blaming "both sides" and creating out of his imagination "very violent" demonstrators against the statue of Robert E. Lee which was already going to be removed!
We have a delusional president. He makes up "facts" on the spot as the fancy takes him. It is very, very hard not to question his mental health.
Look. I happen to agree that the statue of General Lee should not be removed. Unlike other Confederate figures, Lee worked hard after the war to reconcile not only North and South but white Southerners to the reality that their former slaves were now fellow citizens. Yes, he was a slaveholder. As the president pointed out, so were Washington and Jefferson, and yet nobody is calling for their statues or monuments to be removed. Lee fought not to protect slavery but to protect his native state from invasion by Federal troops. The removal of the statue and the renaming of the Charlottesville park in which it stands is an outrageous case of fanatical political correctness run amok.
Further, the president is absolutely correct in saying that many of the demonstrators against the removal of the statue were fine, law-abiding people who are in no way to blame for the violence. And to his credit, he explicitly repeated his specific condemnation of the racists and white nationalists who WERE the responsible parties. But there is absolutely no evidence of violence by people on the other side.
This pattern of creating an alternate reality off the top of his head to fit whatever agenda he happens to be pursuing at the moment has become so regular and so habitual that it's becoming harder and harder to dismiss it as mere lying. The worrisome possibility is that he really believes that President Obama had him bugged and all the other crazy things he insists are true without any evidence whatsoever. And a delusional, grandiose president who shows such a radical disconnect with reality is not reassuring. Potential presidential paranoia might be good material for a political novel, but it's not a remotely acceptable reality.
Whether he's just dishonest, irresponsible, and believes that he exempt from accountability (and from the way his supporters react to his bizarre behavior and utterances such seems to be the case, at least as far as they are concerned) or potentially psychotic, his statement today is was not only factually false but just plain dumb. Having received praise yesterday for at long last condemning the people who were actually responsible for the violence- the racists and white nationalists and other alt-right types who absolutely were not the only people demonstrating against the removal of the statue- he now has decided to commit another unforced error by once again trying to take some of the heat off of them and put it on someone else. Nobody has ever claimed that all the people who were demonstrating against the removal of the statue are racists or white nationalists or alt-right fanatics, or bore any more responsibility for the violence than its victims did. Yet the president's decision to pursue that straw man leaves one wondering just what he was trying to accomplish.
Even while repeating his condemnation of the bigots and fanatics who were, in fact, responsible for the violence, he chose today to take some of the heat off them by trying to make innocent people share the blame- something his critics have not, in fact, done.
Before I finish, a word should be said about the behavior of the journalists at today's press conference. The president was perfectly clear in repeating his condemnation of the racists and alt-right fanatics. Yet it almost seemed as if the reporters hadn't heard him, or had heard the exact opposite. Their behavior is also unreasonable and only adds undue support for the president's attempts to demonize them.
This was not a good press conference for anybody- and least of all, for the facts.