House Democrats unveil effort to formally censure President Trump


House Democrats want to censure and condemn President Trump for his assertion that “both sides” of the protesters in Charlottesville, VA., were to blame for the violence that took place Saturday. Three lawmakers have unveiled a resolution that would do so.

Saturday’s “Unite the Right” rally began with white supremacists gathering to protest the city’s removal of a Confederate statue.  Counter-protesters, who went to denounce the white nationalists, clashed with the rally organizers and violence swept through the event.

Although President Trump has stated that he condemns hate speech and white supremacist groups, like the KKK, he also refused to let them take all of the blame. Saying the violence came from “many sides,” the president was critical of every act of violence.

“If you look at both sides — I think there’s blame on both sides,” Trump said during a Tuesday press conference.

On Wednesday, the day after the president reiterated his stance, a trio of democrats unveiled a resolution to censure him for his handling of the violence stemming from the white nationalist rally.

The Hill reports:

Authored by Democratic Reps. Jerry Nadler (N.Y.), Pramila Jayapal (Wash.) and Bonnie Watson Coleman (N.J.), the measure condemns Trump for his ‘inadequate response to the violence’ and ‘failure to immediately and specifically name and condemn the white supremacist groups responsible for actions of domestic terrorism.’ “

“It also specifically condemns Trump for employing chief strategist Stephen Bannon and national security aide Sebastian Gorka in the White House for their ‘ties to white supremacist movements.’ “

A separate resolution introduced by Jayapal Tuesday also condemned the violence in Charlottesville, and President Trump’s statements after. Her resolution did not call out any employee by name, but asked for the removal of White House employees “who have supported or encouraged support for white supremacists.”

Stephen Bannon, the former CEO of Breitbart News, has often been linked to the so-called “alt-right.” Nadler’s resolution says Breitbart is a “platform for the alt-right,” which would presumably disqualify Bannon by association.

Stephen Gorka is also guilty of associating with the news organization. He worked there as a national security editor.

According to The Hill, presidential censures are rarely used. “The Senate has voted just once to censure a president: Andrew Jackson in 1834, on the basis that his actions to dismantle the Bank of the United States amounted to an abuse of power. But Jackson’s allies gained a Senate majority and revoked the resolution three years later.”

In 1842, the House considered a measure to censure or rebuke John Tyler for abuse of powers. They also considered a measure in 1860, not happy with James Buchanan’s handling of Navy contracts. Some lawmakers wanted to censure former President Bill Clinton during his 1998 impeachment trial. All of these former censures failed.

The president did receive support for his comments from his vice president. On Wednesday, Mike Pence addressed the controversy from a news conference in Santiago, Chile.

“The president has been clear on this tragedy, and so have I,” Pence said in definement of his critics. “I stand with my president.”

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