|Always in back of his mind. He had not shied away from expressing admiration for both Hitler and Putin|
While Donald Trump is on vacation, there are major renovations going on in the West Wing. Perhaps they’ll alter plans and include a portcullis and a moat, because the White House is under siege.
The president is once again facing loud denunciation (though so far little else) from members of his own party. Vice President Pence is cutting short an overseas trip and returning home to an administration in crisis. And Wednesday afternoon, the president announced he was pulling the plug on a manufacturing council and a strategy and policy forum, both comprised of business leaders, after a spree of defections in reaction to Trump’s handling of violence in Charlottesville.
Trump’s campaign for president stood on two legs: the politics of racial grievance, and a promise to bring back manufacturing jobs. What became clear this week is that he can either work with industrial titans on jobs or he can place white identity politics center stage, but he cannot do both. With his open embrace of de-facto white nationalism on Tuesday, Trump made his choice.
From his border wall with Mexico to his protectionist trade impulses to his vow to end “American carnage,” Trump promised white Americans that he would get them back on their feet, turn back the tides of immigration and progressive social justice, and bring back their jobs.
In order to take on the jobs question, he assembled two panels of blue-chip business leaders, the President’s Manufacturing Council and the Strategy and Policy Forum. The actual utility of presidential panels like this is often hard to judge, but for Trump, they represented the concrete evidence that unlike previous presidents, he was a businessman who could bring other titans of business together to make the country run better for its people.
The two bodies were already fragile—several members quit over Trump’s decision to pull the U.S. out of the Paris Climate Accord—but it was the white-supremacist and neo-Nazi march in Charlottesville that wrecked them. After Trump issued a bland statement on Saturday blaming “all sides” for violence at the march, Merck CEO Ken Frazier announced he was stepping down from the Manufacturing Council’s board. It did not go unremarked that Trump was faster to denounce Frazier than he was neo-Nazis, but Monday afternoon he tried to correct course, laboriously reading a statement in which he declared, “Racism is evil.”
Questions about Trump’s sincerity quickly surfaced, climaxing in a stunning press conference at Trump Tower on Tuesday, in which he tried to defend the Charlottesville march even as he condemned neo-Nazis and white nationalists. The number of defections from the council climbed over the course of the week, as my colleague Annie Lowrey chronicled. The members were either genuinely appalled by Trump’s remarks, used their acute business sense to realize that being associated with him would be bad for their companies and reputations, or both.
Wednesday afternoon, Reuters and CNBC both reported that Trump’s Strategy and Policy Forum had decided to disband itself amid the controversy. Trump had been defiant over earlier defections—“For every CEO that drops out of the Manufacturing Council, I have many to take their place. Grandstanders should not have gone on. JOBS!” he tweeted Tuesday morning—but he saw the end in sight and tried to get ahead of the story. In a twist on the old “you can’t quit, I’m firing you,” he said he did so for the good of the members.
In practical terms, the end of these groups may not make much difference. After all, Trump has achieved so few of his goals on economic policy that the executives’ absence can’t really hurt. It is, however, a blow to Trump’s self-conception. Having long nursed a grudge over being viewed derisively by many business moguls, he reveled in inviting them to the White House. It is also a blow to his public image, suggesting that rather than being the businessman who could fix government, he can wrangle neither the private nor the public sector effectively.
And it is, as well, a challenge to his approach to race. On Tuesday, a reporter asked him what he’d do to overcome racial divides. “I really think jobs can have a big impact,” Trump said. “I think if we continue to create jobs at levels that I’m creating jobs, I think that’s going to have a tremendous impact, positive impact, on race relations.” If Trump believes, as he told reporters, that racial divides can be healed by the rising wages of a manufacturing revival, the dissolution of the business councils deals his agenda a double blow.
Also on Wednesday, North America’s Building Trades Unions also issued a statement that did not name Trump but called on “men and women of character to demonstrate leadership and unequivocally reject those who perpetrate hate, racism, sexism or any other manner of corrosive public discourse and action that only weaken us as a country.”
But the demise of the two panels is just one element of the latest self-inflicted crisis for the White House. Pundits have for months wondered what would happen when Trump encountered a genuine crisis that was not of his own making, and Charlottesville helps to clarify: As usual, he finds a way to make it harder for himself.
One bright spot for Trump is that despite the horror with which his comments on Charlottesville have been received, he has yet to have a single Cabinet member or high-profile aide resign in protest. While there’s been lots of staff turnover at the White House, those who have left have either been fired or pushed out in internal power battles. Reports pop up from time to time of top aides who are angry, but none of them has actually quit or said publicly that they could not tolerate the president’s words or actions.
Trump’s comments place all of his associates in a difficult position: They have to find some way to defend the president without implicating themselves in his wilder positions. Pence, speaking in Chile, said, “What happened in Charlottesville was a tragedy and the president has been clear on this tragedy and so have I. I spoke at length about this heartbreaking situation on Sunday night in Colombia and I stand with the president and I stand by those words.” But he avoided other parts of a question about whether there were “good people” in the march, or whether Robert E. Lee should be considered an American hero. The vice president said he was cutting short his Latin American trip and coming home on Thursday, ahead of schedule.
Pence faces the same dilemma as newly installed Chief of Staff John Kelly, who looked uncomfortable during Trump’s remarks Tuesday, and as Republican officeholders. Many of them continue to treat Trump’s views on Charlottesville as an error, but as one more akin to a tactical difference—as though they simply disagreed about how to fund a new initiative. Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona, perhaps Trump’s most prominent GOP critic at the moment, said he wanted his colleagues to stage an intervention with Trump:
Flake’s doubts that Trump would listen are prudent. This is not simply a matter of difference of policy approach. The optimists espouse the view that they can talk Trump out of a central tenet of his political identity. The improbability of that happening is manifest in the case of Trump’s manufacturing and strategy councils, in which he would not sacrifice white identity politics to defend another of his top priorities.
Donald Trump's strong stand on white suprememacists has been part of his identity and it should not surprise many people that is if people bothered to get to know the Donald before voting for him or before the elections. All you have to do is seee how he has conducted business in his past.
You can go and see how he handled race based on news accounts and the government records of his native new York City. I think a landlord that wont rent to blacks, because they are blacks is a separatist and a bigot. There are no two ways about it. If you qualify and can pay the rent the apartment should be yours and the color of your skin should not be in the equation.
When people came to apply for apartments that were supposed to be available in Manhattan, if they were balck they would be told "Not available" but there is a very nice unit in Brooklyn. He did this like his father before him and also got caught.. Trump did it until he got caught and fined
That made big headlines in New York.
This blogsite published copies of the newspaper headlines like in the NY Daily News and New York Times and to my surprise it was not taken with any great enthsiasm to people that came into this blogsite.
Maybe people thought it was old news but it wasn't and it was about a Presidential candidate.
Trump got a pass like when the tapes about Trump grabbing the private parts of a married woman.
I thoguht he was fried toast but no he got a pass. In anything bad that came about him or anything outrageous that he said many people would say he is not a politician he is not use to talking in public.
There is a guy who is been in the public life in New York and all overworld because his TV life. No one was better known. The women that came out of the Ms. Universe Pageant would say he liked to hang out on their dressing rooms while they were changing made the tonight shows jokes but it stopped there.
There was no reason to doubt all these women. People wanted him because they wanted to take a chance with the nation. They thought if the nation came apart and people were killed, well chances would be against that and if it happen what would be the chances it would be one of Trump's voters.
The Russia scandals and how he asked the Russians to hijack accounts to find Clintton's emails. No reaction.
There is more to come....and the deaths of a dear young lady and two policemen involved in an accident esponding to the violence in Charlottesville for which Im sorry to say wont be the last. The anarchists will be coming and the nazis are already here celebrating tonight that their president finally put his paw on the table and came out.