Why Trump must acknowledge that he went too far this time, by Michael Goodwin.
The best course would be for him to signal regret, to acknowledge it was a tweet too far. People of goodwill — the vast majority of Americans — will not see it as a surrender to the mob. Quite the contrary. It will let them close the books on the incident, which is good for the president and the country.
Trump doesn’t agree.
“I just feel these people hate our country,” he told me in a brief phone interview Tuesday night. “I think people understand that we want people who love our country and are capable of loving our country.”
When I raised the troubled history of the words “go back,” which were often used as insults against African-Americans and immigrants, including Jews, he responded that he has “pages and pages of statements” made by the four House members in question that he called “filthy” toward America and Israel.
“These people are haters, they probably hate our country, that’s my opinion,” the president said. While he conceded he might be wrong about public reaction, he believes “most Americans are glad to have somebody speak up for them.” …
The president should end the frenzy and clear the air by acknowledging the wider perception and, with modesty, emphasize that he had no racial intent.
Naturally, even that would not satisfy the radicals and their media handmaidens. But Trump should take that path now because presidents have an obligation to speak to the nation as a whole, especially in times of rancor, and because he needs a reservoir of goodwill to weather next year’s brutal campaign.