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Is Donald Trump a Racist or Just a Coward?

By now most people have heard about this weekend's violence in Charlottesville. A protest by "alt right" white supremacists was in turn the subject of a counter-protest. One of the white supremacists drove his car into the crowd of counter-protestors, killing one and injuring 19 others.

This horrific act of terrorism was roundly condemned by politicians on both sides of the aisle.

But the act received only a tepid response from the president. In a statement, Donald Trump condemned "hatred, bigotry and violence, on many sides. on many sides," explicitly refusing to single out either the white supremacist who committed the violence or the ideology behind the act.

Trump's inability to condemn racism has raised the question of whether he himself has white supremacist sympathies, or whether he is merely too cowardly to confront a group that helped put him in the White House.

Trump's failure to distance himself from white supremacists has led prominent members of his own party to distance themselves from him.

Politically, this could be a blessing in disguise for Republicans weary of Trump's lack of focus or discipline and his ineffectiveness at getting legislation through a friendly Congress. From his unconstitutional Muslim ban to his lack of leadership on Trumpcare, to the still-growing Russia scandal, Trump has demonstrated himself to be a man unprepared for the office of president.

Things could get very difficult for Mr. Trump as Republicans head into the Congressional election year of 2018. If the president can't find the courage to speak out against acts of racial terrorism, he will find himself increasingly isolated, making it even harder for him to push his legislative agenda.

And even if he does manage to learn the meaning of courage at his advanced age, he'll have problems. The Russia scandal isn't going away, and his grasp of organizational skills isn't going to improve. But what we have seen this weekend may be the tipping point that sends the Trump presidency over the proverbial cliff.

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