Although Trump’s certainly earned the moniker President Toddler, what with his still developing motor skills and vocabulary, lately he behaves more like a sulky preteen. Look at the way he handled Charlottesville—the president waited two days before commenting on the white supremacist rally that left one activist dead in the Virginia city, and even then he uttered that “many sides” bullshit. When it was brought to his attention that he looked like a neo-Nazi sympathizer, he rolled his eyes, sighed, and “okay Mom”-ed his way a condemnation of said neo-Nazis. But given another opportunity to speak on Charlottesville, he swung back to his “lots of people are to blame, not just skinheads” rhetoric, shouting at reporters about the so-called “alt-left.”
South Carolina senator Tim Scott was disgusted by Trump’s wildly inconsistent (is there any other kind?) response to the armed white supremacists who marched in Charlottesville, believing that it compromised his “moral authority.” So, according to CNN, Scott met with Trump to discuss the legacy of slavery, i.e., the prison industrial complex, lynchings, the KKK, and not, as Trump probably hoped, an appreciation of “beautiful” Confederate statues. Scott himself is proof of the racism that persists in the South; he’s only the first black senator elected from the region since Reconstruction.
The president and the Republican senator came away from their meeting with two very different impressions, of course. On the one hand, you have Trump bragging to reporters on Air Force One that it was a “great talk.” But, seeing an opportunity to play to his base after sitting through what must have felt like a lecture (assuming he was able to focus that long), Trump switched back to equating anti-fascist protestors with the fascists who were chanting “Jews will not replace us” on the streets of Charlottesville:
I think especially in light of the advent of antifa, if you look at what’s going on there. You have some pretty bad dudes on the other side also, and essentially that’s what I said. Now, because of what’s happened since then with antifa—you look at really what’s happened since Charlottesville, a lot of people are saying and people have actually written, “Gee, Trump might have a point.” I said, “You’ve got some very bad people on the other side also,” which is true.
We’re sure one of those letters came from his old pal Pickle. For his part, Scott tried to impress upon Trump the “brutal history surrounding the white supremacist movement and their horrific treatment of black and other minority groups,” but he didn’t think the president would actually take it all in. Upon learning of Trump’s focus on antifa (who Scott does thing are dangerous) after their meeting, the senator didn’t sound surprised: “It’s who he has been.” By that, we’ll assume he means someone who’s increasingly less subtle in his support of white supremacists.