Following a weekend in which a white nationalist Nazi murdered an American on American streets, leaving 19 others injured, and multiple instances in which armed Nazis in riot gear assaulted groups of unarmed protesters speaking out against racism and bigotry, Mike Pence is very upset.
Vice President Mike Pence on Sunday evening criticized the media for its coverage of President Donald Trump’s remarks Saturday on the violence in Charlottesville, VIrginia.
Pence defended Trump’s display of equanimity in blaming the people who stood up to hate and bigotry. After all, Donald Trump didn’t jump to the immediate conclusion that racist, swastika-wearing, Hitler-praising, club-wielding Nazis were the bad guys at Charlottesville. The average person might have allowed himself to be swayed by the way that one of these Nazis had just purposefully driven a car into a crowd of peaceful Americans demonstrating against hate and bigotry. Donald Trump doesn’t make that kind of judgement. Neither does Pence.
Speaking during a visit to the South American nation of Colombia, Pence said that it was appropriate to criticize not only the white supremacists behind the “Unite the Right” march but also counter-protesters on the scene.
Some elderly patrons of Pence’s South American tour may have nodded along to his defense of Nazis. But Pence saved most of his criticism for the media that dared be upset at Donald Trump for failing to condemn violent white nationalists and how Trump equated people putting themselves on the line against the precise kind of hatred that millions of Americas died to fight.
Because Pence clearly agrees with him.
Pence did at least discover the ability to name the groups involved.
“We have no tolerance for hate and violence from white supremacists, neo-Nazis or the KKK. These dangerous fringe groups have no place in American public life and in the American debate, and we condemn them in the strongest possible terms,” he said.
“I will say I take issue with the fact that many in the national media spent more time criticizing the president’s words than they did criticizing those that perpetrated the violence to begin with,” he said, speaking in a joint news conference with Colombia’s president, Juan Manuel Santos.
Which was, of course, the kick off for Pence devoting more time to attacking the press than he did to attacking those of perpetuated the violence. Except that Pence, and Trump, seem to believe that the “perpetrators of violence” include the people on the receiving end of clubs and speeding cars.
After all, if everyone would simply surrender to hateful white nationalism, there would be no reason for violence. Kind of like this actual proposal from a Nazi concerned that events at Charlottesville might have hurt the public image … of Nazis.
“I say that we have a peaceful rally—something like a park BBQ, where everyone is welcome to join and discuss the alt right ideologies in a safe environment. Bring families. Show them what a peaceful white ethno state could be like and they’d want to join.”
Clearly “everyone” in this statement only works for a subset of everyone. But when Donald Trump or Mike Pence suggests that people who stand up to white nationalism share in the violence that results from Nazi gatherings, this is exactly what they’re saying—that if the Nazis simply had no one to fight, there would be no violence.
Just a “peaceful white ethno state” … that is very fond of Donald Trump.