The Los Angeles Times’ editorial board published a scathing column on Sunday that targeted US president Donald Trump and the Republicans in the wake of last week’s tragedy in Charlottesville.
“These are not normal times,” the editorial began. “The man in the White House is reckless and unmanageable, a danger to the Constitution, a threat to our democratic institutions.”
The board specifically singled out Trump’s refusal to clearly condemn neo-Nazis, Ku Klux Klan members, and other “alt-right” supporters who rallied in Charlottesville last weekend to protest the removal of a Confederate statue honouring Gen. Robert E. Lee. The rally quickly devolved into violence and chaos when white supremacists clashed with counter-protesters, ultimately resulting in the death of 32-year-old counter-protester Heather Heyer after apparent white supremacist James Fields drove his car through a crowd of demonstrators.
The column criticised Trump’s “moral vacuity and his disregard for the truth, as well as his stubborn resistance to sensible advice,” adding that his refusal to condemn white supremacist hate groups “astounded and appalled observers around the world.”
Trump attracted sharp scrutiny last Tuesday when he equivocated white supremacists and neo-Nazis with the so-called “alt-left,” or the anti-fascist demonstrators who showed up in Charlottesville to protest the “Unite the Right” rally. He also raised eyebrows when he compared Lee and Stonewall Jackson to George Washington and Thomas Jefferson.
While acknowledging that certain members of the GOP had been outspoken critics of the president — like Sens. John McCain, Jeff Flake, and Lindsey Graham, as well as other conservatives like Mitt Romney — the board called upon the rest of the party to rebuke their leader.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan “have fired off the occasional potshot but for the most part have stood firmly behind this wildly flawed president, despite the taunts and insults Trump hurled at them from his Twitter redoubt,” the column said.
The board added it believed Ryan and McConnell had remained silent about Trump out of self-interest and the hope that Trump would help them pass their legislative agenda. “Their silence is shameful,” the editorial said, and went on to call on conservative lawmakers across the country to disavow Trump.
“No one can sit on the sidelines now. It’s time for Republicans to show some spine,” the editorial said.
Read the Times’ editorial here »
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