Donald Trump has had countless chances to look and sound presidential–and has blown nearly all of them, bigly. He added another to the list when he claimed that “many sides” were responsible for the violence that took place over the weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia. Never mind that a white supremacist rammed his car into a crowd of peaceful protesters, killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer and injuring 19 people. Any doubt that this was a fail should have been eliminated when the white supremacists almost unanimously applauded Trump’s response.
If there was any doubt Trump simply does not know or does not understand what a president is supposed to do, that speech erased them. The editorial board at one of Trump’s biggest media gadflies, The Washington Post, took it upon itself on Saturday night to remind Trump–and the nation–of what a president should do and say in such a situation.
The Post editorial board mused about “what a presidential president would have said” in this situation. As the board saw it, he would have started out by pointing the finger squarely at “individuals who embrace and extol hatred”–an element “whose views all Americans must condemn and reject.”
In an obvious effort to troll Trump on his fixation with calling out “radical Islamic terrorism,” the Post editorial board suggested that a real president would recognize the need to call out racists in the same manner, and recognize they are “anathema in our society,” and should not be allowed “any quarter or license” anymore.
He also would have vowed that the alleged driver in the car attack, James Fields, would be “prosecuted to the full extent of the law” if it was indeed a deliberate act. He would have also announced that the signal had to go out that the criminal-justice system “must and will treat a terrorist who is Christian or Buddhist or Hindu or anything else just as it treats a terrorist who is Muslim.”
This editorial went live at 6:24 pm Eastern. In that time, we haven’t seen any angry tweets from Trump–even though The Post is one of his favorite targets. Perhaps Trump knows that, in this case, The Post has him busted.
Or maybe it’s because it’s almost identical to the remarks Ted Cruz gave about this tragedy.
I urge the Department of Justice to immediately investigate and prosecute this grotesque act of domestic terrorism. pic.twitter.com/AwJLsfUEHl
— Senator Ted Cruz (@SenTedCruz) August 13, 2017
We never thought we’d find ourselves applauding Cruz for anything. But let’s give credit where credit is due–this is how a real president, regardless of party, should have sounded on Saturday.
If Trump had gone on a 140-character rant against The Post, he would have been hard pressed to explain why he didn’t turn his fire on Cruz for saying essentially the same thing. But then again, even if Cruz hadn’t weighed in, Trump would have looked foolish if he’d gone after The Post. After all, contrary to what Trump would have you believe, it’s not biased to call a spade a spade. And that’s exactly what The Post did here.
(featured image courtesy Agnostic Preacher’s Kid, available under a Creative Commons BY-SA license)