How close is Trump to the far right?

US President Donald Trump has once again played down the significance of the racist violence in Charlottesville. This prompted several leading businessmen to leave one of his advisory committees and drew criticism from Democrats and Republicans alike. Leading members of the far right, by contrast, have praised his stance. The president is relentlessly dividing US society and poisoning the climate there, commentators observe.

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The Economist (GB) /

Republicans are too lenient with Trump

The Economist thinks it is a disgrace that not more Republican members of Congress have distanced themselves from the tirades of their president:

“Many held their noses and backed Mr Trump because they thought he would advance their agenda. That deal has not paid off. Mr Trump is not a Republican, but the solo star of his own drama. By tying their fate to his, they are harming their country and their party. His boorish attempts at plain speaking serve only to poison national life. ... Rather than indulging his outrages in the hope that something good will come of it, they must condemn them. The best of them did so this week. Others should follow.”

La Repubblica (IT) /

A policy of polarisation

US President Donald Trump has criticised the removal of Confederate monuments. In this tacit acceptance of the violence of the extreme right he is encouraging the glorification of slavery, US journalist Alexander Stille rails in La Repubblica:

“He is playing up to those emotions that he thinks will bring his voters together: the extremist faction with the moderate majority. The latter reject violence but they believe that the white man is being neglected and even persecuted by a political world that sides with the minorities and political correctness. … His strategy is to divert the debate from concrete issues such as the health and tax reforms to questions of identity. … Driving an ever deeper wedge between the different sections of society could, however, prove to be a dangerous game for Trump, too.”

Libération (FR) /

Unprecedented stupidity

Trump's about-turn is stupidity on a historic scale, snaps Libération:

“Worse still, it is also an insult to the American identity that has formed over the course of so many battles. ... In openly accommodating racist movements, his statement takes on historic dimensions. Never before has a US president so contradicted the principles on which the democracy of his country is based. By implicitly endorsing white racism he has insulted the authors of the Fourteenth Amendment of the US constitution on which he took his oath of office and which stipulates that every American citizen enjoys the same rights irrespective of their ethnic background.”

Phileleftheros (CY) /

Trump is a racist

Trump's words and deeds lead to one conclusion only, comments the daily Phileleftheros:

“The fact that he needs the far-right is not the only reason he is supporting them. Deep down he is one of them - as his words and work demonstrate. He is the president with the fewest women in government, and who spoke about them in the most vile way. He is the president who has issued decrees against certain religious groups entering the US. He is the president who, every time an Afro-American is killed by a white police officer, talks about fighting crime. In a nutshell, he is a racist.”

Ilkka (FI) /

The KKK is grateful

You can blame Donald Trump for a lot of things, but this time he has finally gone too far, underscores Ilkka:

“Trump has given the neo-Nazis in Charlottesville his tacit approval after one of them drove his car into a crowd, killing a young woman. ... It is hard for the president to condemn the racists because members of the Ku Klux Klan in the south are his supporters. The leader of the KKK was overjoyed and publicly thanked the president. ... But you know you've done something wrong when neo-Nazis start thanking you.”

Die Welt (DE) /

Even Republicans are distancing themselves

Trump sees himself as the president of the deeply Republican US and of the extremist anti-democratic forces rather than the US as a whole, Die Welt asserts:

“Nine months after his election victory Trump is not leading the country but the 'movement' that swept him into power. ... He seems to accept the growing radicalisation of this movement. But this is a dangerous tactic. The more Trump stoops to the level of this unsavoury section of American society, the faster even the ultra-conservative Republicans will distance themselves from him. Freedom of speech is upheld in the US. It is granted by the great majority of society even to white supremacists or KKK extremists. ... But ultimately the only people who approve of a president who indirectly plays down the violent acts of these extremists are those who approve of those acts.”

De Morgen (BE) /

Advisors' departure a hard blow for Trump

Trump's latest relativisation of the racist riots in Charlottesville has prompted a number of business leaders to step down from the president's advisory board. This will hit him hard, author and columnist Hugo Camps comments with satisfaction in De Morgen:

“Their resistance is all the more significant because they represent the core of the modern, innovative companies that are the Holy Grail of Trump's election rhetoric. In view of his doctrine about how the economy can save the country the protest of these business giants hits the US president where it hurts. … Business leaders tend to avoid public debate and taking a stance on social problems. … But in the fight against hatred and intolerance, all social barriers must be removed.”