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Editorials

Our View: Trump must stop covering for hate groups

President Donald Trump speaks to the media Tuesday in the lobby of Trump Tower in New York. Trump should not be defending or providing cover for white supremacist groups, our Editorial Board says.
President Donald Trump speaks to the media Tuesday in the lobby of Trump Tower in New York. Trump should not be defending or providing cover for white supremacist groups, our Editorial Board says.

It is strange that a president supposedly obsessed with "winning" seems to be so willing to provide cover for Confederates and Nazis.  

Historically and today, those groups are losers. Huge losers. 

All 11 states that seceded from the union and the leaders of the rebel government made it clear that they were establishing a new country to preserve the practice of slavery, a system of oppression that is the single greatest stain on America's history. 

The Nazis believed that a "master race" of people was superior to all others. They put their beliefs into action on a horrific scale, perpetrating a genocide that has been the horror of the world. 

When the president of the United States seems to support these white nationalist hate groups, he dishonors the millions of brave souls who defended our nation from their hatred.

In his reluctance to denounce these hate-mongers, President Donald Trump continues to lead our country into dark spaces that were previously unimaginable.

The "Unite the Right" rallies in Charlottesville, Virginia, last weekend were ostensibly about the removal of a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee from a park there, which has been renamed from Lee Park to Emancipation Park. 

Like Hitler's SS of old, the white nationalist marchers came armed like a paramilitary force, with shields and guns, some wearing body armor, belying their claim of wanting to march "peacefully." They expected and wanted violence.

One longtime admirer of Adolf Hitler, a 20-year-old man from Maumee, Ohio, became a hero to them and a villain to the rest of the nation by driving his car into a crowd. One person, Heather Heyer, 32, of Charlottesville, was killed. She was marching because she didn't want Nazis in her town. She died for it. 

Yet our president talks of violence "on all sides." 

What about the monuments to Confederates that dot the country? Trump on Thursday decried the removal of Confederate statues as overreactions of the politically correct. He suggested a slippery slope that could lead to similar actions regarding memorials of Founding Fathers Thomas Jefferson and George Washington, both slave-owning Virginians.

Although this tangential argument is intended to deflect from his Trump's shameful remarks on Tuesday regarding the hate rallies in Charlottesville, it merits some consideration. 

Consider that most of the statues of Confederates were erected from around 1890 to 1950, many of them between 1900 and 1920, when institutional racism reigned supreme and hate groups such as the Ku Klux Klan were at the height of their popularity. 

Times have changed since these monuments were erected. Racism clearly is still present in our society, but it is widely rejected. Around the country, people are saying they no longer want these monuments because we reject the ideals for which they stand. 

Jefferson and Washington, slave-owners though they may have been, established the ideals upon which our society is based today. They did more good for the country than bad. Confederates betrayed our country, and fought against it.

Robert E. Lee himself never visited Charlottesville. The statue of him engendered negative feelings among the people there, and so the city government decided to remove it and rename the park. 

It is their right to do so, just as it is the right of those in Baltimore, or in New Orleans, where Confederate statues also were recently removed. 

We would demand the same rights for the people in any of our communities.

Why does Trump bemoan this? Again because he inexplicably seeks to give cover and comfort to far-right groups such as Nazis, Confederates and Klansmen, all of whom were represented at the "Unite the Right" rally. 

In the aftermath of the Charlottesville violence and Trump's infuriating response, Republican Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker repeatedly has suggested Trump needs to demonstrate "stability and competence," which is a polite way of saying the president is unstable and incompetent.

We agree.

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