'Embarrassing' for US, Trump Defense of Neo-Nazi Rally Stuns People Worldwide
"Outside the U.S., this is beyond the pale."
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) charged President Donald Trump with "embarrassing" his own country during a press conference on Tuesday—and the overnight evidence suggests he's exactly right.
President Donald Trump's defense of last weekend's violent neo-Nazi rally in Charlottesville, Virginia was met with shock across the country and around the world on Wednesday, with some of the strongest criticism coming from his hometown of New York City.
A day after Trump was greeted by hundreds of his former neighbors chanting "New York hates you," and as protesters gathered outside Trump Tower for more demonstrations, the New York Daily News and New York Post offered clear summations of the city's position on the president.
The local media in New York City, where Trump had an 18 percent approval rating in a Quinnipiac University poll in July, is far from alone in its rebuke of the president's latest press conference, in which he said there were "very fine people" on both sides of the violence in Charlottesville, where a suspected white supremacist was accused of killing 32-year-old counter-protester Heather Heyer and injuring 19 others, and where neo-Nazis chanted "Jews will not replace us!" Headlines in international newspapers as well as comments from around the world on social media showed a growing sense of alarm at Trump's inability to denounce white supremacists.
In an editorial titled "Charlottesville Attack: Unprecedented Transgression of Donald Trump," France's Le Monde newspaper wrote:
The U.S. president's reaction, as often erratic and unpredictable, now threatens to cry out against him an outrage that goes far beyond the camp of his political opponents...He was elected instinctively, breaking with the history of the United States and at war with 'good thinking,' surfing the evil demons of a white America bristling with its transformation into a multicultural nation. He clearly intends to use the same means to govern the country.
Business Insider pointed out that Trump's preferred method of engaging with the public—via early-morning tweets—has earned him a frequently-stunned audience of Europeans who are now grappling with a U.S. president who's defended an ideology with a long, bloody history on their continent.
"In Europe, fascism is taken seriously," wrote Jim Edwards. "Spain, Italy, Germany, Austria, Croatia, Japan, Portugal, Greece and Hungary have all done time under Nazi or fascist governments...So to see a U.S. president say things like 'there are two sides to a story' when asked to condemn a white supremacist march that led to the death of a woman, is astonishing. Outside the U.S., this is beyond the pale."
In the U.K., Prime Minister Theresa May, who has generally sought to strengthen ties with Trump, offered a rare criticism of the views espoused by president. "There's no equivalence, I see no equivalence between those who propound fascist views and those who oppose them and I think it is important for all those in positions of responsibility to condemn far-right views wherever we hear them," May told reporters on Wednesday.
As NBC News noted, international Twitter users joined Americans in the anti-Trump resistance who have used the #ImpeachTrump hashtag in recent months, noting that Trump's presidency has an impact around the globe.
I don't even live in the US but I feel I should support the #ImpeachTrump thing, because I'm scared too. His actions effect us all.— Hanna Olson (@HanniPaj) August 16, 2017
In Italy we have fascist buildings but no Mussolini statue because architecture is history, statues are celebration of ideals #ImpeachTrump— Irene Iorio (@__nene__xD) August 16, 2017
.@realDonaldTrump, you are embarrassing our country and the millions of Americans who fought and died to defeat Nazism.— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) August 15, 2017