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Coward Trump Didn’t Defend ‘Replacement Theory’?

What the “very fine people” wanted.
September 29, 2021
Coward Trump Didn’t Defend ‘Replacement Theory’?
A C-Span video of former President Donald Trump speaking on August 15, 2017, where he said that there were "people that were very fine people, on both sides" of the 2017 Charlottesville attack, shown by Subcommittee ranking member Andy Biggs (R-AZ) during a House Judiciary subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security hearing, on Capitol Hill on February 24, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Al Drago/Getty Images)

Now that Tucker Carlson and our other most trusted sources of news and opinion are telling us that “replacement theory” is the real deal—i.e., that rootless, cosmopolitan Democrats are trying to replace light-skinned Americans with dark-skinned immigrants—I’m so disappointed to learn that Donald Trump totally cucked out over the white-nationalist replacement-theory proponents at the Charlottesville rally.

Remember the summer of 2017, a few months after Trump was inaugurated, when a bunch of khaki-clad white supremacists and neo-Nazis held a rally to “Unite the Right” in Charlottesville, Virginia? They had everything: Confederate battle flags, chants of “Jews will not replace us,” and tiki torches to complete the Hitler-meets-Hawaii or Luau-in-Leipzig vibe. One guy even murdered a counter-protester by running her over.

In response to the Confederate-inflected Hitlerism and violence, Trump famously—or infamously—said:

You have some very bad people in that group. But you also had people that were very fine people, on both sides. You had people in that group—excuse me, excuse me—I saw the same pictures as you did. You had people in that group that were there to protest the taking down of, to them, a very, very important statue and the renaming of a park from Robert E. Lee to another name.

Those may be the words that came out of Trump’s mouth, the words that you, and I, and millions of other people heard him say, the words that he’s captured on video uttering—but we’ve been repeatedly assured that it’s not what he really said. A guy at RealClearPolitics told us so! If it’s real clear to him, it’s real clear to me. So did Mollie Hemingway, and I have no reason not to trust her.

So the facts are the facts: Whatever the evidence may be, Trump in no way defended people who imitated Nazis and murdered a woman based on the great replacement theory. Got it.

But he totally should have. Because, we now learn, the Charlottesville rallygoers were right! The Jews are trying to replace us! Just ask Tucker Carlson—remember he represents the fair and balanced network, so he’s at least as reliable as Hemingway—who said that Democrats are trying to “change the racial mix of the country. . . . In political terms, this policy is called ‘the great replacement,’ the replacement of legacy Americans with more obedient people from faraway countries.”

I’m really glad Carlson cleared this up. I still have some lingering questions, though. For example, I’m super curious to know how the Democrats determine which people from which countries are the most pliable. Is it based on which ‘news’ networks they watch?

Representative Matt Gaetz—who, come to think of it, has a very non-Anglo sounding name—confirmed that Carlson is “CORRECT about Replacement Theory as he explains what is happening to America.”

So then why didn’t Donald Trump stand up for those brave truth-tellers in Charlottesville? Why did he abandon them? If they were in the right, those stalwart opponents of the great replacement, why didn’t he defend them?

I get it: Trump was (and may still be) the president, so he has to triangulate sometimes. But couldn’t he have at least said something in their defense, like that they were nice guys? Or at least that some of them were? Because I’ve been assured he said no such thing.

Benjamin Parker

Benjamin Parker is a senior editor at The Bulwark.