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Finally, Mr. Trump says what he should have said Saturday

It took him 48 hours, but President Trump has finally and explicitly condemned the white supremacist groups primarily responsible for the Charlottesville riot and for killing a counter-protestor.

“Racism is evil,” Mr. Trump said today, “and those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs, including the KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and other hate groups that are repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans.”

Good for him. Yet it's disturbing that even after similar incidents in the past he "put his foot in it" by implying a moral equivalence between those groups and their opponents in his initial statement.

I'd like to think that it's just a matter of Mr. Trump not thinking things through. He isn't very good at choosing his words, and it would be well for him to rely on those who are better at that sort of thing to choose them when he is making an official pronouncement about something. In fact, you would think that he would be surrounded by people in a position to prevent just this sort of thing, at least when it comes to formal, prepared statements. Unforced errors are especially problematic, and will inevitably be interpreted as reflecting a problem with the attitude of either the President or those in his administration, or both- and rightly so.

The most charitable interpretation that can be put on the situation is that the Trump White House is in such confusion and disarray that it's unable to protect the President from the consequences of what in itself is an understandable personal weakness- but an obvious one, one with which he has had repeated trouble in the past, and against which even far more articulate presidents have employed.... I don't know... professional speechwriters who are familiar enough with their jobs that they don't put words in his mouth which beg for misinterpretation? And that's especially the case when the very groups he finally condemned today are to a great extent his own enthusiastic and outspoken supporters, and even cited his initial statement as evidence of his support for their viewpoint!

It just isn't the media's fault when it takes a president's words at face value. That's their job. The President's job, and that of his advisors is to see to it that what he says is at least a reasonable facsimile of what he means.


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