It's not enough that Donald Trump be officially censured for saying neo-Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan do not deserve full blame for a deadly white supremacist rally. Now Democrats want the president removed from office for the offense.
Heightening the controversy that has swirled over Trump’s insistence that “both sides” share the blame for the violent encounter in Charlottesville, a House Democrat is calling for impeachment. That comes as the chairman of the Democratic National Committee is trolling his Republican National Committee counterpart, asking her to hold Trump accountable or risk becoming the party “that surrendered to a man who empowered neo-Nazis.”
“It’s time for both of our parties to unite against these white supremacists and all of their enablers — including the president of the United States,” DNC chair Tom Perez wrote in an open letter to RNC chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, who earlier this week told Good Morning America that there is “no place in our party at all for KKK, anti-Semitism, racism, bigotry.”
Democrats are already looking to formally censure Trump — or at least force Republicans to debate the measure — and Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., said Thursday he plans to introduce articles of impeachment against Trump. The president, he argues, failed the “presidential test of moral leadership” by suggesting that both the white supremacists and those who oppose them were in the wrong.
“No moral president would ever shy away from outright condemning hate, intolerance and bigotry,” Cohen said. “No moral president would ever question the values of Americans protesting in opposition of such actions.”
Democrats had already called for Trump’s impeachment after he fired FBI Director James Comey amid a deepening probe of the Trump team’s ties to Russia.
But this time, Democrats note that Republicans also have sharply criticized Trump for failing to reject the white nationalist groups.
Democrats already are fundraising on the issue, with former President Barack Obama lending his name to a DNC email that urges recipients to sign up to “help Democrats defend our values and defeat bigotry at every level.”
There are no good Nazis. There are no good Klansmen. We fought a World War to defeat Nazis, and a Civil War to defeat the Confederacy.
Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn.
Trump's chief strategist, Stephen Bannon, welcomed the debate over such cultural issues, telling an interviewer this week that Republicans will defeat Democrats by focusing on the economy.
“The Democrats, the longer they talk about identity politics, I got ’em," Bannon said in a wide-ranging conversation with the American Prospect. "I want them to talk about racism every day. If the left is focused on race and identity, and we go with economic nationalism, we can crush the Democrats.”
But Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., who has sponsored resolutions calling for Trump to fire Bannon and to be censured by the House, argues that Trump’s remarks hit a chord beyond the Democratic base, parts of which have long called for impeachment. She noted that top U.S. military leaders countered Trump’s remarks, as did business leaders who bailed out of Trump’s advisory panels.
“This is not about ‘identity politics, it’s about a destructive ideology that we defeated in World War II,” Jayapal said.