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GOP leaders must overcome their timidity and denounce Trump

Eugene Robinson on

That's probably also why Bannon, in the interview with Kuttner, referred to the white-power clowns as, well, "clowns." He's smart enough to reassure Trump supporters that they're not like those racists and that all the racial game-playing is on the other side.

Trump's desperation is palpable. His approval ratings have slid perilously close to the danger zone where Republican officeholders no longer fear crossing him.

For titans of the business community, the tipping point came Wednesday. The chief executives of such companies as General Electric, Campbell Soup, Johnson & Johnson and 3M decided they could no longer serve on Trump's advisory Manufacturing Council or his Strategy & Policy Forum.

Why stick around? Prospects that Trump can actually follow through on a business-friendly agenda, including tax reform, look increasingly dim. And Trump's "many sides" reaction to Charlottesville wasn't going over at all well with employees, customers or the executives themselves.

"Constructive economic and regulatory policies are not enough and will not matter if we do not address the divisions in our country," JPMorgan Chase chief Jamie Dimon wrote in a message to his employees. "It is a leader's role, in business or government, to bring people together, not tear them apart."

The chiefs of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and National Guard also publicly condemned hate groups in the wake of Charlottesville. They, of course, could not mention the commander in chief by name.

But politicians can. And they must.


Eugene Robinson's email address is

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