Donald Trump didn't call Charlottesville an act of domestic terrorism, so Congress will make him

A bill passed by Congress calls for Trump to "speak out" against hate groups

By Matthew Rozsa

Staff Writer

Published September 13, 2017 9:26AM (EDT)

 (AP/Susan Walsh)
(AP/Susan Walsh)

Congress is putting President Donald Trump on the spot regarding his stance on white supremacists.

The bill, which was passed by unanimous consent by the Senate on Monday and the House of Representatives on Tuesday, referred to the murder of Heather Heyer by a white supremacist as a "domestic terrorist attack" and condemns "White nationalists, white supremacists, the Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazis, and other hate groups," according to The Washington Post. It also pointedly did not equate hate groups on the right with the left-wing protesters that opposed them, sending a not-so-subtle message about the wrongheadedness of Trump blaming "both sides."

Most importantly, the bill urged Trump to "speak out against hate groups that espouse racism, extremism, xenophobia, anti-Semitism, and White supremacy," including using "all resources available to the President and the President’s Cabinet to address the growing prevalence of those hate groups in the United States."

For symbolic reasons, the bill was introduced by the Republican congressman representing Charlottesville, Rep. Tom Garrett, as well as a Democratic legislator from Virginia, Rep. Gerald Connolly, according to Politico. It was also sponsored by both of Virginia's senators, Democrats Tim Kaine and Mark Warner.

Because the legislation was structured as a "joint resolution," Trump would be required to sign off on it. This will prevent the president from dodging commentary altogether in order to retain the support of his "alt-right" followers.

This is the second time in less than two months that Congress has worked together in a bipartisan manner to force Trump's hand. In August, a bill was passed imposing harsh new sanctions on Russia, one that Trump signed into law because his veto would have been overridden, but he still vocally protested it.

By Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer at Salon. He received a Master's Degree in History from Rutgers-Newark in 2012 and was awarded a science journalism fellowship from the Metcalf Institute in 2022.

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Anti-semitism Charlottesville Donald Trump Ku Klux Klan Neo-nazis Racism White Supremacists