Perhaps the most uncomfortable part of President Trump’s angry Trump Tower news conference Tuesday wasn’t what he said, but whom he said it with. The news conference was supposed to be about launching a national infrastructure repair effort. So Secretary of Treasury Steven Mnuchin was on one side of the president and Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao was on the other.
As the subject of the news conference abruptly shifted from infrastructure to the president’s claim that “some very fine people” joined the white nationalists protest in Charlottesville, Mnuchin and Chao may have felt especially uncomfortable. The treasury secretary is Jewish. The transportation secretary is Asian. Jews and non-Caucasians are among those hated by white nationalists.
Trapped where they were, Mnuchin and Chao couldn’t move away. But they should do so now. Fortunately, other top Republicans such as Sen. John McCain, Sen. Lindsey Graham and House Speaker Paul Ryan have criticized Trump’s belated and weak reaction to the Charlottesville violence and his failure to put blame squarely on the white nationalists.
After members of Trump’s manufacturing advisory council quit in protest of Trump’s comments, he dissolved that and another business advisory council.
Now we’ll see how many others will choose to stand with the president or stand up to him.