Freedom of speech is one thing, calling for war is another.
Trump’s choice of words — and the silence that preceded them — are being cheered by at least a few groups of people: neo-Nazis and white nationalists.
On the Daily Stormer, a neo-Nazi website, updates about Saturday’s events unfolded quickly, as hundreds of mostly young, white men who had gathered in Charlottesville to stage a rally to “take America back” clashed with counterprotesters.
“WE HAVE AN ARMY!” the website posted to a live blog shortly after 11 a.m., along with photos of people carrying Confederate flags and neo-Nazi paraphernalia. “THIS IS THE BEGINNING OF A WAR!”
...Less than a half-hour after Trump’s live remarks, the Daily Stormer had declared the president’s words as a signal of tacit support for their side:
Trump comments were good. He didn’t attack us. He just said the nation should come together. Nothing specific against us.
He said that we need to study why people are so angry, and implied that there was hate … on both sides!
So he implied the antifa are haters.
There was virtually no counter-signaling of us at all.
He said he loves us all.
“No condemnation at all,” the Daily Stormer wrote. “When asked to condemn, [Trump] just walked out of the room. Really, really good. God bless him.”
...The Daily Stormer wrapped up its coverage of Saturday’s violence in Charlottesville by attacking House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) for speaking out forcefully against white supremacists and neo-Nazis. It ended with nary a word about Trump — but an optimistic note to those who had protested in Charlottesville, and a word of warning to everyone else.
“And to everyone, know this: we are now at war. And we are not going to back down. … We are going to go bigger than Charlottesville. We are going to go huge. We are going to take over the country. … We learned a lot today. And we are going to remember what we learned. This has only just begun.”
So let us not pretend that this is a freedom of speech issue. This is paramilitary groups threatening physical violence to get their way. Encouraged by a president who is just too stupid to grasp the size of the hole he's digging.