For nearly a week now there has been a media driven feeding frenzy focused on what Donald Trump said, or didn’t say, about Charlottesville. Oddly enough, it seems like the statement that has drawn the most ire is his statement that the violence was caused by both sides:
I think there is blame on both sides. You had a group on one side that was bad. You had a group on the other side that was also very violent. Nobody wants to say that. I’ll say it right now.
I’d say you had two sides that were “bad” and “very violent” because I don’t think the ‘antifa’ have any moral high ground whatsoever in any street fight. They may reprehensible in a different way from the people they were fighting in Charlottesville but they were every bit as reprehensible.
The reason for the outrage over this is because the media is trying as hard as it can to both mainstream the ‘antifa’ movement and street violence in addition to tying Republicans to racism and violence. Read this puff piece and imagine CNN giving the same treatment to any other group that advocates violence and says it does not believe property damage is violence.
But is it working.
First up we have this via Axios.
This is a Survey Monkey project and all that means but it is probably a good estimation of the order of magnitude of the opinion. If you assume Trump’s base breaks older as well as more economically downscale you’d probably conclude they are underrepresented in this poll. This is the topline analysis:
- When presented with a verbatim quote from President Trump on Tuesday (“You had a group on one side that was bad, and you had a group on the other side that was also very violent”), more disagree (53%) than agree (43%).
- Republicans agreed, 87%-11%. Democrats disagreed, 83%-15%. Independents disagreed, 59%-39%.
- Far more blame “the far right groups” for Charlottesville (46%) than “the counter-protesters” (9%), but a remarkable 40% concur with Trump’s assertion that both were equally responsible.
- “Beneath the surface, we see the same partisan division: Two-thirds of Democrats (66%) blame the far-right groups rather than the counter-protesters (6%), while Republicans overwhelmingly blame both sides equally (64%). About the same proportion of Republicans blame the far-right groups (18%) as the counter-protestors (17%).”
I’d be willing to bet the more this drags out and the more shrill the attacks become, Trump’s approval on this particular subject will creep upwards. YMMV.
There is a second piece to this story. This comes via Salem’s own Hugh Hewitt:
Maybe Hewitt is blowing smoke–it has been known to happen–but my assessment is that this story is having the greatest impact with people who already hate Trump. For those who either support him or see him as a suboptimal alternative necessary to stop a Clinton presidency, I doubt that anything Trump says about Charlottesville will have any effect. Trump saying stupid stuff is pretty much baked into the equation right now and the more the anti-Trump and NeverTrump and the Democrats and the media try to make a national crisis out of Charlottesville the more their attacks will be viewed as partisan attacks.