Situational awareness: FBI, Justice Department open civil-rights investigation after car rams counter-demonstrators opposing white-nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va., yesterday ... 32-year-old woman killed, dozens injured ... Driver, James Alex Fields Jr., 20, recently moved to Ohio from Kentucky, charged with second-degree murder ... Day's death toll rose to 3 when state police chopper crashed in woods, killing two troopers onboard ... Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe will visit two Charlottesville churches.
People fly into the air as car drives into counter-demonstrators protesting the white nationalist rally. Photo by Ryan Kelly of The (Charlottesville) Daily Progress, via AP
The layup untaken? Unforced error? Worst moment of his days as president?
However you look at it, President Trump's suggestion that "many sides" were responsible for the racist carnage in Charlottesville, Va., produced an instant backlash even from some top Republicans:
The N.Y. Times' Glenn Thrush and Maggie Haberman note in a story on p. A14 headlined, "Critics Slam Trump's Tepid Condemnation of Violence on 'Many Sides' in Virginia": "Trump is rarely reluctant to express his opinion, but he is often seized by caution when addressing the violence and vitriol of white nationalists, neo-Nazis and alt-right activists, some of whom are his supporters."
Be smart: Being a leader is taking your people where they don't want to go, or don't know they want to go. Being president is about rising to the occasion, not shrinking to your base. Large swaths of Trump's base don't think like this. The vast majority of conservative Americans aren't racists. Trump does them a disservice by creating that impression, and by coddling or fearing the few who resist loving one another.
Friday night torch march by white naitonalists (Photo by Hawes Spencer; used bypermission)
Hawes Spencer — a buddy of mine since we were editors of rival college newspapers in Virginia, eons ago — has lived in Charlottesville for 28 years, and covered Friday night's torchlight march by white nationalists, up U.Va.'s sacred Lawn to Mr. Jefferson's rotunda. They were protesting plans by the city of Charlottesville to remove a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.
Hawes, who was filing for the N.Y. Times and Richmond public radio station WCVE, tells me that the chants included "Jew will not replace us" and "Jews will not replace us." Hawes was in the melee all day yesterday, and last night I asked him what it was like:
Car drives into counter-demonstrators (The Daily Progress, via AP)
I skipped this story for Saturday's AM because when I saw the headline, I thought these were fringe dopes who weren't worthy of your time and attention. Turns out, we're going to spend a lot of time trying to understand this strata ...
"Secessionists push for South to break away from US again," by AP's Jay Reeves in Birmingham, Ala.
Car reverses after driving into counter-demonstrators (Ryan Kelly of The Daily Progress, via AP)
TIME's David Von Drehle — who lives in Missouri, a much better perch than the bubbles for writing about America — has a WashPost column, "Reclaiming 'a language of hope," with sound advice for both parties:
Trooper-Pilot Berke Bates and Lt. Jay Cullen were killed when their helicopter crashed while working the nationalist rally (Virginia State Police via AP)
New context now for this Hollywood Reporter story from Thursday: "HBO and Amazon's dueling Civil War alt-history dramas have brought an age-old debate about art back to the cultural forefront: Who is 'allowed' to tell certain stories, particularly those about marginalized communities?"
White-nationalist demonstrators clash with a counter-demonstrator as he throws a newspaper box at the entrance to Lee Park in Charlottesville yesterday (AP's Steve Helber)
"Squeezed out by Silicon Valley,the far right is creating its own corporate world" ... The L.A. Times had a prescient story ahead of the rally, that's now at the top of today's front page, "Web haven for far right: Ostracized by Silicon Valley, neo-Nazis and others create their own corporate space," by Matt Pearce:
Lazaro Gamio / Axios
President Trump has told close associates that he believes Steve Bannon is behind damaging leaks about White House colleagues, putting the chief strategist's job in fresh jeopardy, sources close to the president tell Axios' Jonathan Swan:
Looks like Week 2 of the 17-day presidential "vacation" will be as relaxing as the first.
We're told Trump is putting off for a day his plans to return to his home in Trump Tower for the first time since the inauguration, and return to D.C. to appear on-camera tomorrow as he signs an "executive memorandum" calling for a White House investigation of China trade practices.
We're told that his week, he'll host an infrastructure discussion at Trump Tower, hold a tax-reform event, and visit an opioid clinic in New Jersey.
Not exactly the days of George H.W. Bush taking out the cigarette boat in Kennebunkport, Maine ... or Bill Clinton strolling around the Black Dog on Martha's Vineyard ... or George W. Bush chopping brush in Crawford, Texas ... or Barack Obama largely disappearing on Martha's Vineyard.
"Mueller ... is in talks with the West Wing about interviewing current and former senior administration officials, including the recently ousted White House chief of staff, Reince Priebus," the N.Y. Times reports on page 1:
Bob Herman, Axios' Midwest-based health-care business reporter, picks "New Slang" by The Shins:
"I have the music knowledge of a fruit bat. A handful of bands and artists, like The Shins, serve as my mainstays. The Shins released a new album earlier this year called Heartworms (do people still listen to entire albums?), and it's worth checking out. But the simple, mellow tones of this classic Shins song epitomize a tranquil summer evening."