A group of Republican and Democratic Senators is introducing a joint resolution that could force President Trump to finally and officially condemn white supremacists and racism.
The five-page resolution labels white supremacy, the KKK, and neo-Nazism as “hateful expressions of intolerance that are contradictory to the values that define the people of the United States,” according to Politico, and calls for rejection of the violence in Charlottesville.
It is not a surprise that the backers include Democratic Senators Mark Warner of Virginia and Tim Kaine of Maryland, but it is unusual to see the list includes Republican Senators Cory Gardner of Colorado, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Johnny Isakson of Georgia. ”
The involvement of Gardner is especially significant because he is also Chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee. He was the first Republican in the Senate to urge Trump to condemn what happened in Charlottesville declaring that “we must call evil by its name,” and calling it “domestic terrorism.”
The resolution also forcefully urges Trump to “use all available resources to address the threats posed by those groups.”
Trump since becoming president has taken resources away from the fight against domestic terrorism and moved it to the fight against Isis and international terrorists.
“Let there be no mistake: what happened in Charlottesville,” it declares, “was an act of domestic terrorism perpetrated by a white supremacist.”
The way it is being done also is meant to force Trump’s hand.
It is not unusual for the Senate to pass nonbinding resolutions that are symbolic – but do not require the president’s signature. By making this a joint resolution from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, it will go to the president for his signature – or his rejection.
If Trump were to reject the resolution, it would brand him a racist dupe even more clearly. It is more likely the President will be embarrassed into signing the resolution while complaining that he considers it a flawed approach to the problem.
“During the violent white supremacist demonstrations in Charlottesville last month,” Kaine said in a statement, “our country lost three brave Virginians in Heather Heyer and Virginia State Police officers, Lieutenant Jay Cullen and Trooper Pilot Berke Bates. This resolution honors their lives while supporting the Charlottesville community as it heals and rightfully calls on us all, including President Trump, to do better as we combat acts of hate.”
Over and over, Trump has played to his racist political base, whether it was putting Nazi protesters on the same moral level as peaceful protesters or his presidential pardon for Joe Arpaio, the Arizona Sheriff who broke the law by profiling and mistreating Latino immigrants.
This resolution paints Trump into a corner where he must commit to at least condemning domestic hate groups or face more waves of negative publicity.
This is a powerful way for the Senators to make clear that the vast majority of Americans condemn racist, separatist, irrational hatred and violence, and put Trump on the hot seat where he almost certainly will have to agree to something he would never initiate.
It also marks a rare instance of collaboration by the two political parties that put aside petty partisan politics to work together on an issue that has divided and sickened Americans and made it clear that Trump is on the wrong side of history for disgusting selfish and reactionary reasons most Americans reject.