Trump Takes Aim at the “Alt-Left”
The president won’t let the racist and violent Left off the hook for Charlottesville violence.
President Trump’s politically incorrect insistence on blaming radical leftists for their rightful share of the violence on Saturday in Charlottesville is being met with predictable howls of outrage by the Left and the media.
At the protest, alleged neo-Nazi James Alex Fields, used his car to plow into a crowd of counter-protesters not far from the scheduled rally at Emancipation Park. About 20 people were injured, one of them fatally. Paralegal Heather D. Heyer, 32, was killed.
But left-wingers who descended in force on the rally site attacked people with bats and clubs, a fact President Trump stubbornly clings to despite intense pressure from the media and the rest of the Left to drop it. The people holding the “Unite the Right” rally may not all have been upstanding citizens, but holding and expressing views that are unpopular, even widely considered to be morally repugnant, is no reason to deprive those people of the right to express themselves in public.
President Trump has repeatedly denounced the right-wing extremists who organized the rally but at the same time he has stood up for their First Amendment rights. Trump stirred up a hornet’s nest during a press conference at Trump Tower in Manhattan yesterday when he was pushed by reporters to lay the blame for the violence in the Virginia college town exclusively on the “alt-right” and right-wing extremists such as neo-Nazis, the Ku Klux Klan, and skinheads.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) defended the violent left-wing fascists he euphemistically describes as counter-protesters. “The violence in Charlottesville was not caused by the ‘alt-left,’ (whatever that may be),” the failed 2016 Democratic president contender tweeted. “It was caused by Neo-Nazis and white supremacists.”
That neo-Nazis and white-supremacists were involved in the melees is true, but Sanders isn’t telling the whole story.
President Trump filled in the blanks.
“What about the alt-left that came charging at the alt-right?” Trump said to journalists who sputtered with rage at his impudent refusal to toe the line. “Do they have any semblance of guilt?”
The president continued:
Let me ask you this. What about the fact they came charging — that they came charging, with clubs in their hands, swinging clubs? Do they have any problem? I think they do. So, you know, as far as I’m concerned, that was a horrible, horrible day. Wait a minute. I’m not finished. I’m not finished, fake news. That was a horrible day.
“Is it the same level as neo-Nazis?” a reporter asked.
“I will tell you something,” Trump said.
I watched those very closely, much more closely than you people watched it, and you have - You had a group on one side that was bad and you had a group on the other side that was also very violent. And nobody wants to say that, but I’ll say it right now. You had a group, you had a group on the other side that came charging in without a permit and they were very, very violent.
So what is the alt-left?
Alt-left, a play on the phrase alt-right, has been popularized by conservatives such as WND’s Joseph Farah and radio and TV host Sean Hannity, an ardent defender of President Trump. Both alt- phrases aren’t easily defined and are hurled as epithets, though alt-left seems to have even less of a fixed meaning than alt-right.
Academic Paul Gottfried is credited with coining the term “alt-right” in 2008. He wrote that he gave a speech in which he called “for an ‘Alternative Right’ to combat the high degree of neoconservative control over the intellectual Right.” Left-wingers say alt-right refers exclusively to white-nationalists, white-supremacists, neo-Nazis, and the like.
The alt-left, which is “racist to its core,” is “a movement of phony self-righteousness and ‘compassion’ that it uses to gain power,” Farah has written. “It will do anything and say anything to achieve its goal of hammerlock control not only of government, but every significant cultural institution – from schools, universities and the press to churches, foundations, Hollywood and unions.”
Whether it flowed from the alt-left or the plain old Left, there was a great deal of leftist violence at the site of the “Unite the Right” rally, as John Hinderaker has documented.
Take a moment and drink in the indignant tone of an Associated Press report on the Trump Tower presser. The AP piece slams the president for daring to say “there is blame on both sides” for civil unrest in the town in Albemarle County where Thomas Jefferson lived. Trump is “appearing to once again equate the actions of white supremacist groups and those protesting them.”
Well, duh. The battle in Charlottesville was largely between right-wing fascists and the left-wing fascist poseurs of antifa who try unconvincingly to pretend they’re not fascists.
“There is no inconsistency between neo-Nazis being criminals and thugs and antifas sharing the blame for the violence in Charlottesville,” points out Hinderaker. “They are criminals and thugs, too.”
But “[i]n the AP’s telling, the antifas were just ‘protesting’ the white supremacists. No mention of fighting, no reference to baseball bats.” He adds, “Who, exactly, brings bats and clubs to a demonstration?”
The AP wants us to believe that Trump’s statements were a disaster. His aides “stood in silence,” John Kelly “crossed his arms and stared down at his shoes,” Sarah Sanders “looked around the room trying to make eye contact with other senior aides.” And “[o]ne young staffer stood with her mouth agape.”
The AP never questions, however, that what Trump said was true. In fact, it was indisputable. The antifas, a fascist group that has also rioted at Berkeley, Seattle and other places, typically wears black clothes and masks, arms its members with baseball bats, ax handles and 2x4s, and often attacks random people on the street. Its behavior in Charlottesville was not much better than usual. New York Times reporter Sheryl Gay Stolberg tweeted, “The hard left seemed as hate-filled as alt-right. I saw club-wielding ‘antifa’ beating white nationalists being led out of the park.”
That a New York Times reporter finally recognized how hateful and destructive the “hard left” can be ought to warm every patriotic American heart.
It’s not much, but it’s a start.