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Opinion: Americans fought a war to defeat racist fascism. Does Trump know that?

President Trump gives a statement on the violence in Charlottesville, Va., at his golf club in Bedminster, N.J., on Saturday.
President Trump gives a statement on the violence in Charlottesville, Va., at his golf club in Bedminster, N.J., on Saturday.
(Pablo Martinez Monsivais / Associated Press)

To the editor: Remember the “Greatest Generation?” Back when America was at its very greatest, proudly anti-fascist Americans fought and killed Nazis. We did not tolerate them. (“Trump bears some responsibility for the racism on display in Charlottesville,” editorial, Aug. 12)

More than 400,000 American service members died in a war against fascist evil, and they rescued the world. That was the Greatest Generation. That was when America was at its greatest.

Back then, our president did not blame “many sides” for the violence and hate in the world. No, the Greatest Generation had sense enough to put the blame on the shoulders of Tojo, Mussolini and Hitler, all of them fascist nationalists.

Now, our president, Donald Trump, protects violent fascists by dispersing the blame to “many sides.” He has emboldened fascism around the world. And the once truly great Republican Party has become the voice of fascist thugs.

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Make America great again. Fight fascism. Fight Donald Trump.

Gary Ollila, Chesapeake, Va.

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To the editor: While it would have been wildly appropriate for the president to have spoken the necessary words denouncing white supremacy in general and the domestic terrorism they invoked in particular in Charlottesville, I’m not surprised Trump steered clear (again) of risking offending (part of) his base by not explicitly condemning racist white nationalism in his initial statement.

A president has power to do so much good, and yet this embarrassing excuse for a leader continues on his stupid, stupid path. I continue traveling on what apparently is my own stupid path where I still hope the president will start doing and saying the right things.

It is no mystery to me why Trump won’t condemn white supremacy. In his heart, he agrees with them.

K.F. Lisovsky, Venice

I’m profoundly sad about Charlottesville. I’m increasingly alarmed by the man in the White House. But I’m an optimist by nature which explains why, in spite of it seeming stupidly futile, I still have hope — although that well is, as they say, running dry. And stupidity won’t replenish it.

Debra Trelut, Highlands Ranch, Colo.

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To the editor: Wow, the president really knocked it out of the park with his statement about Charlottesville, in which he asked all Americans to come together. Surely he will go down in history as the Great Uniter.

Hispanics are very receptive to the message from the man who calls many of them “bad hombres.” African Americans respect Trump for saying that their communities have no education or jobs but plenty of shootings. Journalists are rushing to help promote the “love and affection” message from a president who calls them disgraceful and dishonest. Muslims who’ve had members of their families banned from this country get his message of acceptance. Republican Senators like Marco Rubio of Florida and Ted Cruz of Texas will tell their constituencies to listen to the man who calls them “Little Marco” and “Lyin’ Ted.”

When you’ve been a humble person who cares for others all your life as Trump has, a message on love and inclusion really resonates.

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Vince Scully, Long Beach

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To the editor: The violence and racism on display in Charlottesville is a wound on our nation, and Trump’s response did serious damage to America’s standing in the world. When will the Republican Party have the moral courage to stand up and say, “This is enough — this president’s words and actions are unacceptable, it we will now put our country before our party”?

I’m not holding my breath.

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Trump’s incompetence had already been on full display prior to Charlottesville. Instead of a more restrained response to North Korea, where he is creating a crisis, the president chose to be confrontational; and yet in his response to the unacceptable events in Virginia, he chose to be subtle.

Instead of specifically denouncing the racist protesters, he offered a subtle rebuke and gave moral equivalency to both protesters and anti-protesters. Sadly, this uninformed 71-year-old president is not about to change.

Marcia Herman, Los Angeles

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To the editor: On Nov. 19, 1863, as a war was raging in this country to determine whether black people would continue to be slaves, Abraham Lincoln stood up at the Gettysburg National Cemetery and declared that “these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom.”

Some 154 years after that magnificent paean to liberty, another president stood up at his private golf club and said that he condemns violence and hatred “on many sides.”

He said this throwaway phrase after the violence by neo-Nazis and white nationalists had resulted in one death and many more peaceful protesters hurt, but also after these people had echoed the Nazi slogan of “blood and soil” and had made many anti-Semitic statements.

To which vision of America will we adhere? That of our 16th president, who exhorted his fellow citizens to be the best they could be, or that of that man who drew a false equivalence between the neo-Nazis and white supremacists of this country and the peaceful protesters who opposed them?

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Donald L. Singer, Redlands

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To the editor: “We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides, on many sides,” Trump said. I agree.

There are many sides: The far right side, the alt-right side, the anti-Jewish side, the extreme right side, the white nationalist side, the Confederate side, the neo-Nazi side, the anti-immigrant side, the misogynist side, the anti-Muslim side, the birther side, the Steve Bannon side, the anti-LGBT side, the Breitbart side, the Ku Klux Klan side, the English-only side, the Hitler-lover side and all of the other racist sides.

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James A Himes, Hacienda Heights

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To the editor: It is no mystery to me why Trump won’t condemn white supremacy. In his heart, he agrees with them.

He doesn’t want to alienate white supremacists, as they are the core of the core of his support. Look at the way he behaved at his own campaign rallies when fighting broke out: He approved of the violence.

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So his “condemnation” of the violence in Charlottesville was tepid and perfunctory because he didn’t really mean what he said; he just knew he had to say something.

K.F. Lisovsky, Venice

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To the editor: Having watched the Charlottesville coverage and Trump’s subsequent response, I couldn’t help but think of the wise words by Maya Angelou: “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.”

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Cindy Hurwitz, Calabasas

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