By Thanos Catsambas
The atrocious events in Charlottesville, VA on August 12 and the stunning position of President Trump are surpassed by only one dumbfounding aftershock: the inability of most journalists, editors, pundits and commentators of mainstream media to point to the real reason for the president’s remarks. It was not his misunderstanding of the facts, or his innate racist tendencies or his emotional support of neo-Nazist and bigoted slogans. It was a calculated and conscious move to protect and appease his political base that espouses the same principles and beliefs.
Thanos Catsambas is a Senior Nonresident Fellow at the Atlantic Council
With a 34 % general approval rating, but an 80 % approval by his core supporters, Mr. Trump is trying to cling to the last reliable segment of support among the American public. Some pundits erroneously assume that Mr. Trump simply needs guidance from family, cabinet members or other close associates. Gail Collins, a respected NYT columnist, recently remarked: “Patriotic Republicans and administration officials have to get together and find a way to make sure that Donald Trump will never again say anything in public that is not written on a piece of paper.” Her assumption is that Mr. Trump will change his behavior if he speaks from scripted remarks.
He could, but he won’t. The only people who can influence his behavior are the leaders of the Republican party—in the Senate, the House and the NRC. But these politicians, too, depend on Mr. Trump’s base for their own reelection. Unless these constituents, the Hillary Clinton notorious “deplorables”, feel the need to withdraw their support from Mr. Trump, neither he nor the Republican elders have any motive to modify their divisive narrative.