The president’s attempt to avoid alienating racists backfired Saturday, but reactions have proved that Trump’s sidestep hasn’t gone unnoticed.
Donald Trump’s statement citing violence “on many sides” of the Unite the Right protests in Charlottesville this weekend proved to be too much for Kenneth Frazier, CEO of Merck & Co., a pharmaceutical company. Frazier resigned from Donald Trump’s American Manufacturing Council on Monday.
One woman, Heather Heyer, was killed when a terrorist slammed his car into a group of counter-protestors. Nineteen others sustained injuries in the crash. Additionally, two state troopers perished in a helicopter crash now considered to be a part of the events in Charlottesville, because Lt. H. Jay Cullen and Trooper Berke M. M. Bates were monitoring the violence from above.
Notably, the governor of Virginia, Terry McAuliffe, blamed white supremacists and Nazis for every death and injury over the weekend, saying, “Go home. You are not wanted in this great commonwealth. You pretend that you are patriots, but you are anything but patriots,” during a press conference.
Trump’s lack of specific criticism towards or disavowing of literal Nazis provoked bipartisan outrage. Politicians like Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton, Marco Rubio and even fucking Jeff Sessions all denounced the violence perpetrated by white nationalists in Charlottesville as acts of domestic terrorism.
“America’s leaders must honor our fundamental values by clearly rejecting expressions of hatred, bigotry and group supremacy,” Frazier said in a statement explaining his resignation.
Predictably, Trump lashed out against Frazier after Frazier announced his departure via Twitter.
This is not the first time that Trump’s conduct has repulsed those who serve on his advisory councils, and is unlikely the last time either.
Six members of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS also resigned in June, after it became clear that “the policies promoted by this administration, including the substantial Medicaid budget cuts, are grossly antagonistic to the health of people with HIV,” according to Dr. Ada Adimora, a doctor who actually stayed on the council.
The president clarified his initial comments in a six-minute statement on Monday, condemning violence in “the strongest possible terms” and calling racism “evil,” but maintained his refusal to call the acts terrorism, which frankly seems like the… strongest possible term.