US PRESIDENT Donald Trump is facing growing criticism over his failure to condemn immediately the racist, fascist and white supremacist groups which went to Charlottesville to cause trouble over the weekend. Too little, too late, he has now made a statement condemning the “evil of racism” and the “criminals and thugs, including KKK” in Charlottesville.
Actions speak louder than words – especially when they are being taken by large companies and businesspeople. Ken Frazier has taken the first step. He’s the Chief Executive of Merck, a huge drugs company and he sits on Trump’s American Manufacturing Council – and he’s also an African American. He has now announced that he will resign from the Council, tweeting that he has “a responsibility to take a stand against intolerance and extremism.”
In the meantime, James Alex Fields has appeared in court via a video link. He has been charged in connection with the death of Heather Heyer – after he drove a motor vehicle at approximately 40mph into a crowd of counter-demonstrators, reversed, drove at them again – and then reversed and departed.
During the ten minute hearing, Fields heard Judge Robert Downer read out the charges: murder, hit and run, three counts of malicious wounding. Fields spoke only to confirm his personal details. Fields had no legal representation, claiming that he could not afford a lawyer. The Judge appointed a lawyer to act on his behalf.
There was a chilling verbal altercation outside the courtroom. White supremacist Matthew Heimbach staged his own personal demonstration, chanting that the police were responsible for the death of Heather Heyer. The crowd chanted back at him – “Nazis go home”, echoing the words of State Governor Terry McAuliffe. Heimbach told the press he was thinking of staying in Charlottesville.
Where is this going to go? How much more can Trump mess up?