There are few statements Donald Trump is willing to walk back, and when he does, it usually just makes things worse. After the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville led to violence and the death of one civil rights activist, the president suggested that the anti-fascist, anti-racist protestors were equally to blame. When he was rightly criticized for the response and pressured to call out the neo-Nazis, Trump half-heartedly denounced them via a third party. Then, sensing he was losing his bigoted base, Trump fell back to his previously stated “many sides” defense of white supremacists.
The president hasn’t tried to reframe any of that discussion or otherwise combat the belief that he’s tacitly endorsing racists since then, preferring to lash out against black athletes who are peacefully protesting police violence. He’s whined that their respectful displays make him feel “ashamed,” even though he capitalized on the controversy while in Alabama, where his gross statements about how “ungrateful” the protestors are went over like gangbusters.
But he didn’t fly down to Alabama just to race bait—Trump was there to show support for Luther Strange, a Republican candidate for senator in the primary runoff. In a move made all the more questionable by his lack of concern about the devastation in Puerto Rico in the wake of Hurricane Maria, Trump took the time to campaign for Luther, whose candidacy he’d promoted in tweets. But now that Strange has lost the runoff, Trump has changed tunes and Twitter policy. Not only has he begun to sing the praises of Roy Moore, who won the Republican primary, but he’s also deleted his pro-Strange tweets, New York Magazine reports. This, because he feared “total embarrassment” after showing such vocal support for what turned out to be a real loser. So basically, siding with racists, tweeting brain farts, and threatening war can stand, but not being seen as the guy who backed a loser.
ProPublica has archived (some of) Trump’s wrongness, which you can see here.