With the events in Charlottesville and his reaction to them, President Trump and by extension, the Republican Party, have endured one of the worst news cycles since Hurricane Katrina destroyed the momentum from President Bush’s re-election. In neither case did either man deserve what happened to them, but as Clint Eastwood said before executing the sheriff in "The Unforgiven," "deserve’s got nothing to do with it." In the spirit of moving forward from this debacle, and in the hopes that it will not be repeated, let me offer President Trump the following rules:
1. When faced with two despicable groups, and a member of one group kills someone, and the members of the other group don’t, concentrate your condemnation solely on the group with the killer. Moral equivalency is not an option.
2. Everyone hates Nazis. Make sure no one doubts that you do too.
3. Everyone wants to see Nazis beaten — not much has changed since the Roman Coliseum — so don’t criticize whomever is getting the job done.
4. If your choice is between communist thugs versus Nazi thugs, support the commies (see rules 2 and 3). You’ll get an opportunity to settle up with them later.
Being right or wrong is irrelevant if a hostile press can sell the idea that you are a Nazi sympathizer, and right now, they’re having a field day. Mr. President, you’re a gay rights-supporting New Yorker with a Jewish son-in-law and a Palm Beach club that was the first on the island to mix races and religions. How did you let this impression stand?
The good news is this news cycle will pass. The bad news is it will come back.
Antifa — the leftwing fascists who call themselves anti-fascists — will continue to assault Nazis (and others) whenever they gather publically, and having gotten themselves worldwide publicity, the Nazis will almost certainly show themselves again. Furthermore, Democratic politicians like Virginia’s Terry McAuliffe and Charlottesville’s Mike Signer are likely to continue to prevent the police from enforcing order, because it enhances their careers to embarrass the president. Nobody has benefitted more from this murder and mayhem than liberals, so expect them to facilitate more of it.
Antifa didn’t go to Charlottesville to “counter-protest.” They went to draw blood in order to shine as much media attention as they could on a small fringe group of white nationalist losers. They wanted to create the impression that America is a racist country led by racist Republicans. The question is not ‘will they do it again,' but ‘what, Mr. President, will you do differently next time?’
The first thing you ought to do is convene a Justice Department task force specifically geared to combatting white nationalist violence. That will make it official and give you a structure around which to publicize your efforts. Don’t include Antifa as a focus in the task force or anyone else. Do them separately (see rule 4).
Throw money at the problem; it’ll give the impression you’re serious, even if you don’t know where or how to spend it. Since there is no Nazi conspiracy to violently provoke a race war, this is likely money wasted, but wasting other people’s money to make yourself look good is how Washington operates. The press will sneer that your efforts are transparently phony, but it will give you something to talk about other than claiming good people protested alongside Nazis.
Finally, assemble a rapid response team of federal law enforcement personnel whose sole function is to intervene in situations such as these. Infiltrate white supremacist groups and Antifa — if that hasn’t already been done — so you know when and where the next operation will be launched.
If the protest turns violent, override jurisdictional niceties and crush it with rubber bullets and flash bang grenades.
Right now the impression is that direction action, i.e. premeditated street violence, is an effective tool for extremists to achieve political ends. The Nazis are a new phenomenon, insofar as they were previously inactive, and their intentions are unclear, but the Left has been funding Antifa for decades under various names, dating back to the 60s. They are energized, highly active and constitute an ongoing threat to the domestic tranquility.
A Republican president cannot allow a systemic undermining of law and order without losing legitimacy. Another opportunity will likely present itself for you to reverse the present impression by acting against the Nazis or Antifa, or both.
P. H. Guthrie is a former Republican campaign operative. His work has appeared in USA Today, Real Clear Politics, The Federalist, and The Daily Caller. He has also appeared on "The Dan Caplis Show" on KNUS 710. He currently resides in the Washington, D.C. area. Follow him on Twitter @PHGuthrie. To read more of his reports, Go Here Now.
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