At Trump Tower on Tuesday, the leader of the free world defended a portion of the crowd that descended on Charlottesville, Va., last weekend, looking past their flaming torches and ignoring their racist chants. The press, President Trump said, had treated that mob "unfairly."
Watching from the North, Trump insisted that he saw things differently. "Not all those people were neo-Nazis," the president said, "not all those people were white supremacists."
But maybe the media was uncharitable to white males carrying tiki-torches screaming "blood and soil" around a statue of the Confederate general. Perhaps somewhere in those racist ranks there really were some Civil War history buffs that naively and quite by accident just happened to fall in with white supremacists.
Trump certainly seems to think so. Then again, Trump believes a lot of stupid things.
"I looked the night before," a defensive Trump bellowed over the press, "if you look, there were people protesting very quietly the taking down of the statue of Robert E. Lee."
Except no, no there weren't.
The pictures, the videos, and the eye-witnesses directly contradict the president. And even if Virgil Caine was standing in the crowd, he would've lost every last shred of dignity when they decided to keep silent company with Nazis.
By mounting a defense of the truly deplorable, Trump suspended reality, ignored the facts, and dutifully marched to an ignoble end. It was the public relations equivalent of Pickett's charge minus the valor. After issuing a stirring denunciation of evil yesterday, Trump beclowned himself today.
Philip Wegmann is a commentary writer for the Washington Examiner.