Democrats Mount an Effort to Censure Donald Trump
The House resolution faults the president for failing to adequately condemn white supremacists “and assure the American people of his resolve to opposing domestic terrorism.”
When Donald Trump failed to single out and denounce Nazis, Ku Klux Klan members, and their allies Sunday, even after they marched by torchlight through an American city, where one among them ran down an anti-racist protester, I noted the historic failure of presidential leadership—a failure underscored by the praise that white supremacist leaders heaped on his approach—and called on Congress to step into the breach, reasserting the nation’s conscience by censuring the president.
In the days that followed, Trump buckled to widespread pressure to single out the white-supremacist groups, naming them in a statement that he read from a teleprompter. But he subsequently declared, in a combative, unscripted press conference Tuesday, that there were some good people on both sides of the Charlottesville protest, implying that good people marched alongside swastikas and KKK members.
A formal censure became even more necessary.
An overwhelming vote by the House to censure Trump would help to mitigate his inadequate leadership by sending the message he failed to send to white supremacists: that the people are overwhelmingly opposed to their bigotry; that even the most populist branch of government is so adamantly anti-KKK and anti-Nazi that members will censure a president of their own party for delivering anything short of moral clarity. The country would benefit greatly.
This isn’t a perfect resolution; there are likely tweaks that would increase the chance of Republican votes without undercutting the benefits to America. It is, however, a good starting point. The GOP can suggest changes or write its own resolution, bearing in mind that the resolution at hand is far better than nothing at all.
As yet, House Republicans have been willing to ally with Trump despite his cozying up to the alt-right, denigrating Mexicans and Muslims, and stoking ethnic anxieties. If they are to redeem themselves in the least, censure or impeachment is necessary. Should they do nothing, history should record that they were complicit in Trumpism.