On Tuesday’s broadcast of the Fox News Channel’s “Special Report,” columnist Charles Krauthammer criticized President Trump’s remarks about Charlottesville at a press conference earlier in the day by characterizing them as morally disgraceful and a statement that Trump believes what he said on Saturday, not on Monday.
Talk radio host Laura Ingraham said she always likes to look at things through the lens of whether Trump is advancing his agenda, and that he got “sidetracked” in discussing Charlottesville and fell into a trap by becoming a “pundit.”
Krauthammer responded, “To critique what he did today on the grounds that it distracts from the agenda, or it was a tactical mistake, I believe is a copout. What Trump did today was a moral disgrace. What he did is he reverted back to where he was on Saturday and made it very clear that what he read on Sunday — was it Monday? Two days later, was a hostage tape. Clearly reading off a prompter, saying these denunciations by name of the KKK etc., that wasn’t Trump speaking. That was the aides speaking.”
He continued, “The reason it’s a moral disgrace is this, this generation, for the last 50, 60 years, all the modern presidents…understood there was something unique about the history of slavery and racism in this country, that we had to cure this original sin. It was not cured by the Civil War, as Lincoln had hoped. Because it was followed by 100 years of state-sponsored oppression. … What Trump is missing here is the uniqueness of white supremacy, KKK, and Nazism. Yes, there were bad guys on both sides. That’s not the point. This was instigated, instituted, the riot began over a Nazi riot, a Nazi rally. And the only killing here occurred by one of the pro-Nazi, pro-KKK people.”
Ingraham replied that Krauthammer was implying that Trump didn’t mean his denunciation of racism from the day before. She responded to the critique that she was engaging in a copout by saying she wouldn’t pass moral judgment on whether Trump is on the same moral plane as Krauthammer. She later added that it’s not defending Nazis to point to violence on the left.
Krauthammer responded that he wasn’t accusing Trump of defending Nazis, and “The point is, we are not discussing jobs here. We’re not discussing an agenda here. We’re discussing the unique role of a president of speaking for the moral conscience of a country, going all the way back to Abraham Lincoln. We’re not comparing him to me. We’re comparing him to his great predecessors, and to the modern predecessors, who, on occasions like this, would rise to the occasion, speak on behalf of Americans, and denounce, unequivocally –.”
Ingraham cut in to say that Trump did that, to which Krauthammer responded that he did, but “tempered it all today. He undid all that by saying, oh, yes, he did it reading a statement yesterday, but what he really meant is there was anger, violence, evil on both sides. That is missing the point of what occurred here.”
Ingraham then argued that Trump’s statement Monday was good, but he should have said it on Saturday and she doesn’t know why he didn’t. Krauthammer countered, “I’ll tell you why he didn’t say it on Saturday, which he made plain today. Because that’s not what’s in his heart.”
Ingraham then replied, “You can read a heart. Wow, you really are a PhD.” Krauthammer continued, “What he said yesterday was what he was reading off a prompter. He had — he was not asked to do the press conference. His staff was shocked that he went into this. The reason he did it, he has a point to make, and he made it very plain to the country that what he believes, and what he feels is what he said on Saturday and not what he read two days later.”
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