Evan Vucci / AP

Look for President Trump to say more today about this weekend's racist pageant in Charlottesville, which resulted in three deaths but drew oddly measured condemnation from him.

  • Top Republicans, including some who have been trying to give Trump the benefit of the doubt, fear the damage may be done to the party, and to the president.
  • Yesterday's deafening presidential silence was underscored when Vice President Mike Pence told reporters in Cartagena, Colombia: "We have no tolerance for hate and violence from white supremacists, neo Nazis or the KKK. These dangerous fringe groups have no place in American public life and in the American debate, and we condemn them in the strongest possible terms."
  • Trump, in New Jersey but on vacation in name only, returns to the construction-zone White House today for 8½ hours.

He'll meet the cameras of the press pool at 3 p.m. in the Diplomatic Reception Room to sign a memo jabbing China on trade. We expect he'll amplify his "many sides" remark from Saturday.

He's on the defensive, when he could be soaring:

  • N.Y. Times' Glenn Thrush and Rebecca Ruiz: "As the gravity of the events on Saturday became clearer, the pressure on Mr. Trump to make a stronger statement came from his innermost circle of advisers and family."
  • "Trump consulted a broad range of advisers before speaking on Saturday, most of whom told him to sharply criticize the white nationalist protesters. ... Trump listened attentively ... but repeatedly steered the conversation to the breakdown of 'law and order,' and the responsibility of local officials to stem the violence."
  • NBC's Chuck Todd, on "Meet the Press": "It was almost as if the Republican Party was waiting to see what he would do. And then, it was a rush to say, 'Whoa.' He's on an island right now, I think, in his party."
  • Rich Lowry, National Review editor and proud U.Va. grad, to Chuck: "[T]his was a moment ... where the president could've elevated himself. Instead, he came up small. And that's one of the reasons ... you've seen such a premium on the statements from other Republicans on moral clarity, given the president's ambiguity."
  • Front page of today's N.Y. Times: "A White House Statement on Virginia Is Also Found Wanting." And WashPost: "White House seeks to quell backlash over Trump remarks." And L.A. Times: "Criticism of Trump intensifies." And Boston Globe: "Division in the United States: Trump draws criticism for reaction to violence." And Guardian: "Trump under fire from all sides."
  • And the paper he'll see this morning, the N.Y. Post: "TRUMP SLAMMED FROM 'MANY SIDES.'"

Be smart: The truism that you only have one chance to make a first impression has been leavened by today's short attention spans. I've told you before that the biggest surprise of the Trump presidency is that he's done so little to reach out to the 54% of people who didn't vote for him.

Today's his chance to do that in a big way, on a subject that matters vitally to a fractured, fractious country. Trump's challenge is to lead the more extreme elements of his own coalition, and also resonate with America's great middle.

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Hiroshima mayor warns of rise of nationalism on 75th anniversary

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Hiroshima's Mayor Kazumi Matsui on Thursday urged the international community to work together to defeat the coronavirus pandemic and warned against an increase in "self-centered nationalism," per the Washington Post.

Why it matters: He said at a remembrance service on the atomic bombing of the Japanese city that the 1918 flu pandemic killed millions as countries fighting in World War I were unable to overcome the threat together, per DPR. "A subsequent upsurge in nationalism led to World War II," he added. The U.S. bombing of Hiroshima on Aug. 6, 1945 and Nagasaki three days later contributed to the end of World War II, but tens of thousands of people died. At the service, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe lamented nuclear weapons' "inhumanity," but he didn't mention Japan's wartime past, WashPost noted.

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The Los Angeles Lakers' LeBron James kneels during the national anthem before the game against the Oklahoma City Thunder in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, on Wednesday. Photo: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

LeBron James responded on Wednesday night to President Trump's comments calling NBA players "disgraceful" for kneeling during the national anthem to protest racism and that he won't watch games because of the action.

The big picture: Trump has repeatedly criticized sports players for taking the knee since 2016. But James said during a news conference, "I really don’t think the basketball community are sad about losing his viewership, him viewing the game." November's elections marked "a big moment for us as Americans," he said. "If we continue to talk about, 'We want better, we want change,' we have an opportunity to do that," he added. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has said the league will "respect peaceful protest."

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