The president's "both sides" rhetoric in response to Charlottesville is the dangerous language of relativization. History tells us where it can leadby Catherine Baker / August 17, 2017 / Leave a comment
The very day that ‘white identitarians’ called a rally in Charlottesville to protest against the recent removal of a monument to the Confederate leader Robert E. Lee, anti-fascist campaigners started warning it would bring white supremacist violence to the city.
That violence manifested last weekend when a man linked to the openly fascist group Vanguard America allegedly killed one activist, Heather Heyer, and injured at least 19 others with his car. Armed white nationalists also reportedly intimidated the Congregation Beth Israel synagogue and beat black and left-wing counter-protestors with the same torches that had created the spectacle of a neo-Nazi torchlight parade.
Donald Trump’s remarks at a press briefing inside Trump Tower on Tuesday evening, however, shocked many journalists and politicians when he stated that “there’s blame on both sides”—narrating the violence in similar terms to those used by a New York Times reporter, who had tweeted about seeing “club-wielding ‘antifa’ beating white nationalists.” The left, Trump said, held equal responsibility for the violence with the alt-right.