President Donald Trump speaks in the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House in Washington, Monday, Aug. 14, 2017. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
Evan Vucci

After finally denouncing racists, Trump steps on his message

Updated

It took far longer than it should have, but Donald Trump finally denounced white supremacists yesterday, two days after the president responded to Saturday’s deadly violence in Charlottesville by condemning bigotry “on many sides.” And while I think it’s generally wise to steer clear of questioning others’ motives, it’s also fair to consider the broader context of Trump’s brief public statement to get a sense of his sincerity.

The Rachel Maddow Show, 8/14/17, 9:00 PM ET

Maddow: Racism 'a persistent infection' in white American culture

Rachel Maddow looks at the deadly racist violence in Charlottesville, Virginia in the context of other instances of white supremacist violence in the modern era, as well as what makes the weekend’s tragic events unique.
For example, the president’s use of Twitter last night shed light on what was on his mind. The Chicago Tribune reported:

[Trump] retweeted a post from an eyebrow-raising Twitter account: that of right-wing provocateur Jack Posobiec, a Trump supporter known for advancing a number of conspiracy theories, such as those tied to “Pizzagate” and the murder of Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich.

His tweet had nothing to do with Charlottesville, instead linking to a story about Chicago homicides.

Posobiec’s tweet linked to a story from the Chicago ABC affiliate and read, “Meanwhile: 39 shootings in Chicago this weekend, 9 deaths. No national media outrage. Why is that?”

The implication wasn’t exactly subtle: Trump promoted a message that suggested there was too much coverage of Charlottesville violence.

That, of course, followed Trump telling Fox News he’s considering pardoning Arizona’s Joe Arpaio, a notorious birther and hero to fringe far-right activists.

This morning, meanwhile, Trump used Twitter to promote a picture of a CNN journalist being hit by a train – just three days after a white nationalist used his car to target progressive activists, killing Heather Heyer. (Trump later deleted the retweet.)

When the president delivered remarks yesterday afternoon denouncing racism, it was only natural to wonder just how genuine his attitudes were. His actions since making those remarks don’t help matters.

Not to put too fine a point on this, but Americans can either believe the words someone put on a teleprompter for the president to say, or we can believe Trump’s true feelings are reflected in everything else he said and did after reading that speech.

After finally denouncing racists, Trump steps on his message

Updated