President Trump doubled down last week after coming under fire for failing to condemn violence by neo-Nazis and White supremacists in Charlottesville. For a man who never admits a mistake, the president clearly tried–in his strange way–to clean up his mess.
In a televised speech Monday night, on the way forward in a nearly 16-year-old conflict in Afghanistan, president Trump opened oddly with remarks about unity and healing, clearly his way of admitting that he mishandled Charlottesville.
After noting the diversity of our troops, Trump said they should not have to return home from war to a country that is “at war with itself.”
“We cannot remain a force for peace in the world if we are not at peace with each other,” he said to a military audience at Fort Myer, Virginia.
What’s behind this—at least temporary—change of heart?
Perhaps it’s the new poll, which found that just 28 percent of Americans approved of how he handled Charlottesville. Perhaps it’s the widespread criticism, even from within his party, of his unwillingness to condemn neo-Nazis.
Whatever the case, we’ve been on this ride before with President Trump. After reading a prepared speech, in which he sounds reasonable, Trump reverses himself and shows his true colors.
CNN said we may find out on Tuesday during the president’s campaign-style rally in Phoenix “whether Trump can possibly keep up this call to our better angels.”
Even if he doesn’t fall off the rail in Phoenix, the network said he still has a long way to go toward convincing “a deeply skeptical public that he is a uniter, not a divider.”