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Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP

It started with the dog-whistle presidential campaign: constant plays — some subtle, some blaring — on racial fears.

But it wasn't until the past five days — fittingly, in a fight over a Southern statue narrowly, and the stain of slavery broadly — that President Trump officially and indelibly divided the nation over race: setting us back decades, at least for now, in our common purpose of healing old, awful wounds:

  • Yesterday's unplanned press conference — with Trump's declaration that "I think there's blame on both sides" for the violence of Charlottesville, and his searing question: "What about the alt-left?" — was praised by David Duke and alt-right hotbed Breitbart.
  • Let's be honest with ourselves: A huge chunk of Trump's base lapped it up, too. That's what Steve Bannon thought would unfold, and what the president knows instinctively.
  • It was a green light for more hatred, and probably more violence — because now the president has put white supremacy on the same level as angry people reacting harshly to it.
  • Anthony Mason, anchor of the "CBS Evening News," which devoted the full half hour to the aftermath of Charlottesville, said at the top: "There was no script this time. ... President Trump said what he really believes happened in Charlottesville."
  • USA Today: "Divisions escalate between red states and blue cities."

Be smart: It's not just not normal. It's just wrong.

Go deeper: If a top Trump aide leaves, it could 'start a run on the bank'

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Go deeper

Tim Scott hopes to reintroduce version of GOP police reform bill

Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) told reporters Wednesday he plans to reintroduce his police reform bill or a similar proposal in the coming weeks and that he has discussed a potential compromise with Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.) and Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.).

Why it matters: Eyes have again turned to Washington to take steps to address police reform in the wake of Derek Chauvin's guilty verdict Tuesday, after efforts stalled in Congress last year.

Biden announces small business tax credits for vaccine PTO

Photo: Doug Mills/The New York Times/Bloomberg via Getty Images

President Biden on Wednesday called on all employers to provide workers paid time off to get vaccinated or recover from COVID side effects, and said he'll include a paid tax credit for small businesses that do so.

Why it matters: The Biden administration sees workplaces as highly influential in making shots more convenient for working adults who are in high-risk industries.

White House unveils plans for high-profile climate summit

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The Biden administration offered new details this morning about the big, virtual climate summit Thursday and Friday and signaled they expect new emissions reduction and climate finance commitments from multiple countries.

Driving the news: The administration said 40 heads of state would attend, including Russian President Vladimir Putin and President Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil.