Responding to President Trump’s seeming support of white nationalists after the Charlottesville terror attack, Congress has passed a bipartisan resolution requiring him to condemn white supremacists and to commit resources to fighting domestic terrorism by neo-Nazis and other hate groups.
The bill urges Trump to “speak out against hate groups that espouse racism, extremism, xenophobia, anti-Semitism, and White supremacy” and calls on the administration to “use all resources available to the President and the President’s Cabinet to address the growing prevalence of those hate groups in the United States.”
The legislation was introduced by Rep. Tom Garrett, the Republican congressman representing Charlottesville, and Rep. Gerald Connolly, a Democrat from Virginia. It was sponsored by both of Virginia’s senators, Democrats Tim Kaine and Mark Warner. The entire Virginia delegation of seven Republicans and four Democrats supported it.
Because the bill is as a “joint resolution,” Trump is required to sign or veto it. Either way, he must weigh in on the issue; he’ll be unable to dodge condemnation to appease his alt-right base.
The White House hasn’t commented on the resolution.
In Charlottesville last month, 32-year-old Heather Heyer was hit and killed by a car driven by a neo-Nazi who sped into a crowd protesting a white-nationalist rally. In responding to the incident, Trump caused a firestorm by criticizing “hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides” and failing to call out the white supremacists and neo-Nazis in attendance by name. In a follow-up press conference, he said that some “very fine people” were among the white nationalist marchers.
The current Congress has shown an unusual bipartisan willingness to tie Trump’s hands. In August, both the House and Senate overwhelmingly approved new sanctions on Russia and limited the president’s ability to lift them without the consent of Congress.