Just a day after the Senate unanimously passed a joint resolution condemning the acts violence and domestic terrorism by white supremacists and neo-Nazis over the weekend of August 11 in Charlottesville, Virginia, the House of Representatives unanimously passed it by a voice vote Tuesday evening.
Now it is up to President Donald Trump to officially condemn the actions of white supremacists by signing the joint resolution when it reaches his desk. The White House, however, will not immediately commit to signing it.
The joint resolution was introduced last week by the Congressman who represents Charlottesville, Rep. Tom Garret (R-VA), and calls on Trump to “speak out against hate groups that espouse racism, extremism, xenophobia, anti-Semitism, and White supremacy; and 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.” Additionally, the measure calls on Attorney General Jeff Sessions to work with the Secretary of Homeland Security and other Federal agencies to “investigate thoroughly all acts of violence, intimidation, and domestic terrorism by White supremacists, White nationalists, neo-Nazis, the Ku Klux Klan, and associated groups.”
The White House’s hesitancy to come out in support of a joint resolution that explicitly condemns white supremacists and affiliated groups is notable in light of Trump’s comments immediately after the violence in Charlottesville, when he equated white supremacists with the people who gathered to protest them.
“You look at both sides — I think there’s blame on both sides,” Trump said at a press conference just three days after violence in Charlottesville claimed the lives of three Americans, including anti-white supremacist activist Heather Heyer, who was struck with a car by a white supremacist. “They didn’t put themselves down as neo-Nazis, and you have some very bad people in that group. But you also had people that were very fine people on both sides.”
At the Wednesday White House press briefing press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders confirmed the president plans on signing the joint resolution when it arrives at his desk.
“The president was clear in his initial statement that he condemned, hatred, bigotry, and racism of all forms. He continues to stick to that message, he’s been very consistent in that fact,” said Sanders. “In terms of whether or not he’ll sign joint resolution, absolutely, and he looks forward to doing so as soon as he receives it.”
Thursday night President Trump signed the joint resolution condemning the acts of violence in Charlottesville, stating he “oppose[s] hatred, bigotry, and racism in all forms.” Curiously missing from the president’s statement, however, is any condemnation of white supremacist groups and neo-Nazis specifically. Additionally, the death of anti-white supremacist protester Heather Heyer is characterized as “recent violence.”