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Heated reactions persist over how Trump framed Va. violence

President Donald Trump in Trump Tower in New

President Donald Trump in Trump Tower in New York, Aug. 15, 2017. Credit: AP

Fallout left to right

Reaction to the Charlottesville disturbances — and President Donald Trump’s responses to them — raged on, four days after the fact in boardrooms, city streets and the Capitol.

Trump’s major business advisory councils were shut down as more chief executives bowed to the sentiment that the president, in his remarks Tuesday, had morally equated white supremacists with counterprotesters.

JPMorgan Chase Chief Executive Jamie Dimon, a member of the Strategy & Policy Forum, told employees in a note Wednesday that the group decided to disband as a result.

Newsday’s Emily Ngo and Tom Brune report details.

Symbolically speaking

Under the cover of night, symbols of the Confederacy came down in Baltimore. The sudden removal of four statues was carried out without advance notice as Democratic Mayor Catherine Pugh said: “We all are seeing lessons via the media of uprisings and violence, and violence is not what we need in our city.” The Charlottesville rally was billed as a protest of that city’s move to shelve a Gen. Robert E. Lee statue.

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe said he’s changing his mind in favor of removing Confederate statues.

Controversially speaking

For their part, some white nationalists commended Trump for taking what they saw as a balanced stance in his remarks. Former KKK Imperial Wizard David Duke and “Hail Trump!” agitator Richard Spencer were among them. For his part, Trump blasted neo-Nazis and the KKK this week, but also cited videos of counterprotesters coming at “alt-right” ralliers.

Those who dispute or doubt how the president’s remarks are interpreted by partisans or various news media can read a transcript of Tuesday’s remarks here.

Racially speaking

On Long Island, Rep. Kathleen Rice (D-Garden City) drew an extra dose of attention with the following tweet: “President Trump is a racist. Period. He’s gone out of his way to make that clear, so let’s not tip-toe around it. He’s a racist.”

Response on Twitter and elsewhere ranged predictably from attacks to support for her remarks to demands for her to act to defenses of the president.

Paul Kosowski, a Conservative Party district leader from Nassau County, condemned her message to The 1600, adding: “It goes without saying that race is the third rail of politics.

“Perhaps that is why, besides one-time statements, almost all politicians try to avoid it. It gives us no dialogue, no resolution.”

Politically speaking

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) became the highest-ranking GOP elected official to slam the Republican president over Charlottesville.

“Mr. President, I encourage you to try to bring us together as a nation after this horrific event in Charlottesville. Your words are dividing Americans, not healing them,” Graham said in a statement.

But House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) did not target or condemn Trump. They did repeat their disavowal of white supremacy groups, which Trump did on Monday.

The Republican Jewish Coalition meanwhile called on Trump to “provide greater moral clarity in rejecting racism, bigotry and anti-Semitism.”

HUD Secretary Ben Carson says it’s all being blown out of proportion.

North Korea nukes: A positive sign?

Trump on Wednesday praised North Korean leader Kim Jong Un for what he called a “wise” decision not to fire missiles toward Guam, which the rogue leader threatened after Trump’s “fire and fury” warning. That choice was announced in the dictator’s first public appearance in two weeks.

What else is happening

  • In Ukraine, a malware expert whose programming tool was used in the Democratic National Committee hack has been talking to the FBI, the Times reports.
  • The mother of Heather Heyer, killed while protesting the rally in Charlottesville, urged in a eulogy that people honor her daughter’s death by fighting injustice as she did.
  • Former President Barack Obama’s response to the deadly car attack and violent protests became the most-liked tweet since Twitter began.
  • Trump officials agreed to continue making subsidy payments to health insurance companies, seen as vital to keep markets stable with the fate of Obamacare in limbo.
  • Talks began with U.S. partners on the North American Free Trade Agreement, with the White House starkly at odds with Canada and Mexico, The Wall Street Journal (pay site) reports.
  • Steve Bannon could be demoted rather than fired, sources tell Reuters.
  • Trump tweeted another attack against Amazon as “doing great damage to taxpaying retailers.”
  • A new Marist poll showed 55 percent disapprove of Trump after seven months on the job.

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