Trump Signs Resolution Condemning White Supremacy, Charlottesville Violence

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September 15, 2017

President Donald Trump on Thursday signed a congressional joint resolution condemning last month's violence in Charlottesville, Va., and white supremacy in general.

The resolution denounces a litany of hate groups and honors Heather Heyer, the 32-year-old counter-protester who was killed during a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville.

The White House said Wednesday that Trump would "absolutely" sign the resolution after Congress passed it earlier this week. The House approved the measure by unanimous consent on Tuesday, a day after the Senate easily passed it.

Trump condemned "all forms" of bigotry in a statement after signing  the resolution.

"As Americans, we condemn the recent violence in Charlottesville and oppose hatred, bigotry, and racism in all forms," Trump said. "No matter the color of our skin or our ethnic heritage, we all live under the same laws, we all salute the same great flag, and we are all made by the same almighty God."

The congressional resolution urges Trump to "speak out against hate groups that espouse racism, extremism, xenophobia, anti-Semitism, and white supremacy." The resolution singles out "white nationalists, white supremacists, the Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazis, and other hate groups" for opprobrium.

Trump had previously condemned violence in Charlottesville but also drew criticism for blaming bad actors "on both sides." Some Democrats have not believed Trump's condemnations of white supremacy and used his initial response to the events to argue that he is bigoted.

"I've said it very clearly; the president is clearly racist," Rep. Ruben Gallego (D., Ariz.) said last month, calling Trump an "abject liar." A Missouri state senator, who later apologized, even said on Facebook she hoped Trump would be assassinated after his Charlottesville response.

Some in Trump's own administration, such as Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and National Economic Council director Gary Cohn, also seemed dissatisfied with Trump's comments.

On Thursday, Trump reiterated his point that left-wing Antifa groups also deserved condemnation for their acts of violence.

"I think especially in light of the advent of Antifa, if you look at what's going on there, you have some pretty bad dudes on the other side also, and essentially that's what I said," Trump said aboard Air Force One. "Now because of what's happened since then with Antifa, when you look at really what's happened since Charlottesville, a lot of people are saying—and people have actually written—'Gee, Trump may have a point.'"

Trump also met with Sen. Tim Scott (R., S.C.), an African-American leader, on Wednesday, partly to discuss the president's response to violence in Charlottesville and race relations more broadly. White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said that Scott had not criticized Trump's response to Charlottesville but rather spoke about racial issues "in depth."

When Sanders announced Wednesday that Trump would sign the resolution, she also said that Trump "was clear in his initial statement" on Charlottesville.