Following President Trump’s criticism of the death and violence at the Charlottesville, Virginia rallies, many politicians, including Republicans, have attacked the president for his words.
The criticism varies, from his failing to target white supremacists specifically to also mentioning the “violence on many sides.” Yet according to the Independent Journal Review, Mike Huckabee was quick to put them in their place: “And so what is he supposed to say? Is he supposed to do what Barack Obama used to do and jump to conclusions and make a decision like he did in Ferguson, Missouri, which turned out to be totally untrue?”
Huckabee was referring to the shooting death of Michael Brown, a young black man, by white officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri, and then-President Obama’s repeated statements that the shooting was because of racism, the Washington Times reported.
After the shooting, Obama said, “In too many communities around the country a gulf of mistrust exists between local residents and law enforcement. Too many young men of color feel targeted by law enforcement–guilty of walking while black or driving while black, judged by stereotypes that fuel fear and resentment and hopelessness.”
Obama’s insistence that the shooting was a race matter, and subsequent support from the media about racism in law enforcement, led to widespread violent protests as was reported by The Guardian. Businesses were looted and set on fire, fights broke out between rioters and police, and the National Guard was even called in to help quell the chaos in Missouri.
Later, Obama’s claims of racism would be proven false. This fact was reported by The Daily Beast. The DOJ conducted investigations into the shooting and determined that not only was Officer Wilson justified in firing his weapon on Michael Brown, there was no racial motivation for doing so.
Obama’s quickness to insist the incident was a racist act without taking the time to learn the truth caused massive rioting that put many American lives in jeopardy and facilitated the creation of lingering hostility towards law enforcement.
When the violence broke out in Charlottesville between white supremacists and anti-protestors, it led to the death of Heather Heyer. Heyer was killed when a neo-Nazi supporter plowed his car into the crowd. President Trump responded to the incident, saying “We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry, and violence on many sides. On many sides.”
According to NBC News, Republicans and Democrats alike were swift to condemn his statements for failing to single out white nationalists. Many were also upset he had condemned the anti-protesters for opposing the white nationalists through violence.
Huckabee pointed out that a president is supposed to take his time in such matters and make correct assessments.“The president has to be careful in taking steps,” Huckabee said. “I thought what he condemned was what we all could immediately condemn and that was the violence, the car some coward drove into innocent people to try and kill them. And he condemned that! What else is he supposed to do at that point?”
The violence and death in Charlottesville is a tragedy and should never have happened. But the president should hardly be criticized for being more careful than his predecessor was in his immediate response to such events. As we saw with Obama, an incorrect reaction from President Trump could have easily sparked further chaos.
In that respect, his caution is wise and appreciated.