AP

Days into the news cycle of juicy tidbits from writer Michael Wolff’s new book about Donald Trump’s White House comes another frontrunner for most horrendous anecdote: our president trying to rationalize, in the wake of Charlottesville, why oh why someone would join the Ku Klux Klan.

The Daily Beast ran this quote it from Fire and Fury today (emphasis added):

As [Trump] got back on Marine One to head to Andrews Air Force Base and on to JFK and then into Manhattan and Trump Tower, [after addressing the Charlottesville murder,] his mood was dark and I-told-you-so. Privately, he kept trying to rationalize why someone would be a member of the KKK—that is, they might not actually believe what the KKK believed, and the KKK probably does not believe what it used to believe, and, anyway, who really knows what the KKK believes now?

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So if Michael Wolff—who, it must be said, is a writer with a long history of bending journalistic ethics to their breaking point and telling all-out falsehoods—is to be believed, Trump simply couldn’t wrap his mind around why an otherwise nice white American would join a group with a long history of lynching, beating, murdering, and terrorizing black Americans.

Based on the president’s significantly delayed and then woefully inadequate response to Charlottesville—in which he blamed “many sides” for the violence that culminated in a woman’s death, and said some of the white supremacists were “very fine people”—this is one story I don’t have a hard time buying.