Two of President Donald Trump’s obsessions came together in an odd way during his recent interview with Fox News: President Barack Obama and the media.
Trump questioned why the media associated his name with the pipe bomb mailer but failed to connect Obama’s name with the Charleston church shooter — a comparison that defies reason.
“I was in the headline of the Washington Post — my name associated with this crazy bomber, ‘Trump bomber’ or something,” Trump said in an interview with Fox News aired on Monday. He elaborated, “They didn’t do that with President Obama with the church — the horrible situation with the church.”
Where does one even begin with this?
The pipe bomb mailer, as best as we can tell, really was motivated by his political support for Trump; that’s why he mailed pipe bombs to prominent Democrats and Trump critics across the country. The suspect’s social media posts were very supportive of Trump and downright threatening and vitriolic of Democrats as well as Republicans who were critical of Trump.
Associating the pipe bomb mailer with Trump is fair, Vox wrote, not because the political movement itself is necessarily to blame but because Trump has actually promoted political violence himself.
One of many examples: When protesters were showing up at Trump’s campaign rallies, he said in February 2016, “If you see somebody getting ready to throw a tomato, knock the crap out of them, would you? Seriously. Okay? Just knock the hell. I promise you I will pay for the legal fees. I promise.” Trump not only promoted violence; he said he would pay for the legal fees involved.
And by failing to condemn white supremacists after the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia last year, Trump effectively encouraged racist extremism.
They clashed with anti-racism protesters, resulting in a death and several injuries when a Nazi sympathizer rammed a car into a crowd of anti-racism protesters.
Trump responded to all of this by remarking that there were “some very fine people on both sides” — a refusal to condemn the literal neo-Nazis and white supremacists at the rally, even after one of them killed someone.
Trump’s desire to compare his own situation to that of Obama is baseless, as there is no comparison of which to speak.
There is no comparable equivalent for Obama and the Charleston church shooting. Simply put, the first black president did not himself encourage the Charleston shooter, a self-described white supremacist who killed nine black people at a predominantly black church.
Vox noted that the Obama administration did show humility after the shooting in taking some responsibility for what happened:
In particular, the Justice Department and FBI acknowledged a lapse in the gun background check for the Charleston shooter — leading agents to overlook an admission to illicit drug possession, which should have prevented the shooter from buying a gun. He later used that same firearm in the church shooting.
Trump, on the other hand, has shown time and again a deep-seated aversion to admitting mistakes and taking responsibility.