“There’s a reason those people were out there,” Hegseth said. “Some of it is outright racism and needs to be condemned. A lot of it, though, is I feel like my country is slipping away and just because I talk about nationalism ― not white nationalism ― doesn’t mean I’m talking in code that I’m a racist.”
Though many have criticized President Trump for giving an abstract condemnation of violence on “many sides,” Hegseth said he “nailed it” and applauded him not “immediately picking a side right out of the gate.”
But Hegseth comments seem to be similar to Trump’s conflated moral equivalency. It’s a stretch to equate one side protesting being killed by police and another feeling oppressed, especially when the rally was a site of white supremacist domestic terrorism. BLM wants equal justice under the law, while the “alt-right,” when you cut through the coded rhetoric, essentially wants America be to a White ethno-state again.