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Thursday, August 17, 2017

Donald Trump has a very clear attitude about morality: He doesn't believe in it

John Harwood | @johnjharwood
Originally published August 16, 2017

The more President Donald Trump reveals his character, the more he isolates himself from the American mainstream.

In a raucous press conference this afternoon, the president again blamed "both sides" for deadly violence in Charlottesville. He equated "Unite the Right" protesters — a collection including white supremacists, neo-Nazis and ex-KKK leader David Duke — with protesters who showed up to counter them.

Earlier he targeted business leaders — specifically, executives from Merck, Under Armour, Intel, and the Alliance for American Manufacturing — who had quit a White House advisory panel over Trump's message. In a tweet, the president called them "grandstanders."

That brought two related conclusions into focus. The president does not share the instinctive moral revulsion most Americans feel toward white supremacists and neo-Nazis. And he feels contempt for those — like the executives — who are motivated to express that revulsion at his expense.

No belief in others' morality

Trump has displayed this character trait repeatedly. It combines indifference to conventional notions of morality or propriety with disbelief that others would be motivated by them.

He dismissed suggestions that it was inappropriate for his son and campaign manager to have met with Russians offering dirt on Hillary Clinton during the presidential campaign. "Most people would have taken the meeting," he said. "Politics isn't the nicest business."

The article is here.