What Trump Didn’t Say: Balance of Power

Trump Under Fire for Response to Virginia Violence

When will Donald Trump denounce the white-supremacist movement?

That's the question the president's critics -- including some in his own party -- are asking after a white-nationalist rally in Virginia turned deadly. Trump condemned the “egregious display of hatred, bigotry, violence -- on many sides." That outraged his opponents, who accuse him of suggesting an equivalence of blame between those who protested against the march and the extremists who organized it.

The White House said “of course” Trump’s comments covered white supremacists -- a remark that was later echoed by Vice President Mike Pence.

But many want to hear it from Trump himself. “It’s something that needs to come from the Oval Office,'' said Senator Cory Gardner, a Colorado Republican who leads the party's national Senate campaign group.

Trump may eventually bow to those demands. Even if he does, history suggests he may pull his punches. He’s rarely acknowledged his white-supremacist supporters directly, and only grudgingly disavowed the support of former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke in a multi-day flap in 2016.

With a slew of appearances by Trump expected this week, there’ll be no avoiding the issue.

Neo-Nazis, white supremacists and other demonstrators march in downtown Charlottesville, Virginia. 
Photographer: Pacific Press/LightRocket

Sign up to receive the Balance of Power newsletter in your inbox, and follow Bloomberg Politics on Twitter and Facebook for more.

Global Headlines

North Korean tensions ease | Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Joseph Dunford became the third senior U.S. security official in the past day to tamp down fears of nuclear war following Trump’s recent saber-rattling. Dunford told South Korea's president the U.S. prioritizes diplomatic and economic pressure on Pyongyang. The reassurances helped shares in Asia and Europe rebound from last week's selloff.

Trump’s China quandary | The U.S. president is learning that challenging Beijing over trade is harder than it looks, as he steps up pressure over perceived intellectual-property abuses and floats new duties on aluminum foil imports. As Bloomberg’s Beijing bureau reports, the world’s two biggest economies are so closely intertwined, bolder sanctions may risk backfiring on America.

Germany’s election | Campaigning is now fully underway in Germany as voters in Europe’s largest economy decide whether to give Chancellor Angela Merkel a fourth term. With polls showing her Christian Democratic Union party enjoying a wide lead over the opposition Social Democrats, the big question may well be who she chooses to form a coalition with. Here’s our guide to how German elections work.

Venezuela threats | U.S. authorities are taking seriously a death threat against Senator Marco Rubio, believed to have been issued last month by Diosdado Cabello, a close ally of President Nicolas Maduro. Rubio, a strong critic of Maduro’s regime, on July 19 labeled Cabello “the Pablo Escobar of Venezuela.” Cabello hit back last week, using Twitter to call Rubio “Narco Rubio.”

Scaramucci vs. Bannon | Trump’s ex-communications chief took another swing at Steve Bannon, saying the White House chief strategist is “a snag” on the president who is preventing him from advancing his agenda. Speaking to ABC’s “This Week,” Anthony Scaramucci said Bannon, the subject of a tirade that cost him his job last month, was behind Trump’s failure to denounce white supremacists and Trump needed to be “much harsher.”

And finally... Kevin Rudd, the Mandarin-speaking former leader of Australia, had high praise for Chinese President Xi Jinping. In an interview with CNN’s Fareed Zakaria, Rudd called Xi a “serious hard arse” who wouldn’t budge in the face of Trump’s threats. Rudd said the Chinese viewed Trump’s threats as “one huge bluff,” and advised the U.S. leader to prioritize quiet diplomacy over aggressive tweets.

Chinese President Xi Jinping on May 15, 2017 in Beijing.
Photographer: Pool/Getty Images AsiaPac

— With assistance by Billy House, Margaret Talev, and Jennifer Epstein

    Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.
    LEARN MORE