TODD: Let’s jump to the panel that’s here, Rich Lowry, editor of The National Review, U.V.A. alum; Helene Cooper, Pentagon correspondent for the New York Times; Amy Walter, national editor for the Cook Political Report; and Joy Reid, host of AM Joy on MSNBC.
Rich, I’m going to read right from your publication. Today, David French wrote this: “If there ever was a time in recent American political history for an American president to make a clear, unequivocal statement against the alt-right, it was today.
“Instead, we got a vague condemnation of, quote, ‘hatred, bigotry, and violence on many sides.’ This is unacceptable, especially given that Trump can be quite specific when he’s truly angry. Just ask the Khan family, Judge Curiel, James Comey, or any other person he considers a personal enemy.”
RICH LOWRY: Hey, you had people in Charlottesville who were marching in the president’s name. You had David Duke name-checking the president of the United States, which you would’ve thought made it all the more important for the president to be specific denouncing these white supremacists.
And this was a moment, Chuck, obviously, where the president could’ve elevated himself. Instead, he came up small. And that’s one of the reasons I think you’ve seen such a premium on the statements from other Republicans on moral clarity, given the president’s ambiguity.