This past Saturday, in response to the violence out of Charlottesville, Va, President Trump first responded with a weakly worded tweet. Later, he remarked again by tweet, and it was so bad I can’t describe it, I can only transcribe it. “Am in Bedminster for meetings & press conference on V.A. & all that we have done, and are doing, to make it better-but Charlottesville sad!”
Eventually he remarked without his tiny fingers, vaguely talking about how hate is bad probably and whatever. He was rightly criticized for this and by Monday, gave a much more specific condemnation, mentioning the KKK, Nazis, and white supremacist movements as arbiters of an ideology incompatible with American ideals.
Many said “too little, too late” while others were happy Trump had managed to cobble together the very least at the very last. You’d think saying “I hate Nazis” or even “Nazis. Sad.” would be about the lowest hanging fruit imaginable for a politician but for some reason, it took two days and nationwide pressure from all sides, including the loud voices of better GOP politicians, for Trump to give as much attention to these scumbags as he gives to Rosie O’Donnell.
But more notably, and as is the standard for Trump, one group managed to stay out of his sternly scripted, totally-not-written-by-someone-else disavowal: The Alt-Right.
This is despite the fact that the alt-right has been on everyone’s lips through the entire situation. They have been the ever-growing (if not in numbers at least in influence and profile) movement that claim they represent the future of the Republican Party.
Young. Hip. Meme-filled. Oh, and racist AF.
Sometimes they will give lip-service to it being a non-racial movement, claiming they are mere nationalists, but not WHITE nationalists. However, if you corner one long enough, eventually you’ll get them to refer to American black culture as “third world” or talk about how immigration (legal immigration) is the staging ground for “white genocide.” That last is one of their favorite topics and they find it irresistible.
So why does the alt-right continue to escape so much as a finger wag from this president?
The answer is Steve Bannon. Obviously.
Bannon has learned in the months since Trump’s inauguration to keep a low profile. One truth of this president is that if you steal the headlines from him, he’ll kick you right to the curb even if you worship the ground he walks on. No one is allowed to outshine the star of NBC’s “The Apprentice.”
But despite Bannon’s attempts to stay in the background, his past statements and activities remain available for all to see. And Steve Bannon made very clear over the years that the alt-right is desirable, important, and a necessary component of the Trump coalition. What’s more, that they see him as their leader.
Since the Charlottesville situation exploded, Bannon has come up a lot once again and naturally, calls for firing him have increased. Why wouldn’t they?
If you are a Trump supporter and want him to do the best job he can, surely you want the giant puss-filled self-inflicted wound of Steve Bannon to be dropped into the dust heap with the rest of the recently-fired-by-Trump crew. So non-scumbag Trump supporters should want Bannon gone.
If you hate Trump, given that Bannon is the star and chief enabler of a white nationalist movement that aims to disrupt and overthrow and has already killed, you want him away from the White House. So Trump haters should want Bannon gone.
No matter how you feel about Trump, Bannon being fired is in your, our, America’s best interest.
Here’s the problem: Trump doesn’t fire people because he should fire them. He doesn’t fire people because they did something wrong. He doesn’t fire people because he wants to do the right thing.
Trump fires people only when he feels they have embarrassed him or he has embarrassed himself and needs to blame someone. If they’ve been disloyal, or if he’s decided to be disloyal.
Trump fires people on a whim. Because he’s super angry and he wants to throw his toys and cross his arms and make an angry face.
So I feel it’s a waste of time to appeal to Trump to fire Steve Bannon, to make argument aimed at Trump’s ears. There’s no point. I know he won’t do it. Trump should fire Bannon. Trump haters and supporters should want Bannon gone. But it’s a waste of breath to tell him.
Instead, I’m going to point out that Donald Trump is afraid of upsetting the alt-right at large, and Bannon in particular. Because Steve Bannon told him to worry about losing them. And because Donald Trump does what Steve Bannon tells him to. Donald Trump is afraid of Steven Bannon.
Maybe if Trump wasn’t so incredibly weak, he could stand up to Steve. But as it stands, that’s just not the president we have.
Instead, we have Donald Trump: Steve Bannon’s bitch.
I hope you’ll join me in reminding the president of this as much as possible.