House Democrats push to censure Trump over 'both sides' comments on Charlottesville

Trump: Does the 'alt-left' have any guilt?
Trump: Does the 'alt-left' have any guilt?


    Trump: Does the 'alt-left' have any guilt?


Trump: Does the 'alt-left' have any guilt? 01:07

Story highlights

  • The resolution gives Democrats a way to press Republicans to go on the record
  • At least one House committee wants hearings after the Charlottesville violence

(CNN)Three House Democrats drafted a resolution to formally censure President Donald Trump for saying Tuesday that "both sides" shared responsibility for the violence at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, that resulted in the death of Heather Heyer, a young woman protesting hate groups, as well as injuring more than a dozen people.

Rep Jerry Nadler of New York, Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman of New Jersey and Rep. Pramila Jayapal of Washington announced they planned to introduce the resolution when the House of Representatives has a brief "pro forma" session Friday. The House is currently on a five-week summer recess and members are not scheduled to be back in Washington until after Labor Day.
Top Republican leaders like the House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell quickly and publicly broke with Trump's stunning comments that came at a news conference at Trump Tower in New York on Tuesday, though neither statement directly referenced the President's comments.
    A day after he strongly condemned white supremacist groups involved in the violent clashes over the weekend in Charlottesville, the President reverted back to his initial take on the situation that caused many Republicans to criticize him.
    "I think there's blame on both sides," Trump said, arguing that the counter protestors deserved an equal amount of blame. GOP officials across the political spectrum distanced themselves from the comments, which gained praise from David Duke, a former KKK grand wizard.
    The resolution states that the House of Representatives condemns and censures the President for "his inadequate response to the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia on August 12, 2017, his failure to immediately and specifically name and condemn the white supremacist groups responsible for actions of domestic terrorism, for re-asserting that 'both sides' were to blame and excusing the violent behavior of participants in the 'Unite the Right' rally and for employing people with ties to white supremacist movements in the White House, such as Steve Bannon and Sebastian Gorka."
    It also calls on Trump to fire "any and all White House advisers who have urged him to cater to the alt-right movement in the United States."
    CNN has reached out to the White House for comment.
    The measure is unlikely to move quickly in the GOP-controlled House, but it provides a vehicle for Democrats to press Republicans to go on the record. In order to get a House vote, it must first go through the House judiciary committee.
    One congressional aide familiar with the discussions tells CNN that Democrats have reached out to judiciary committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, who is traveling, to press for action on the resolution as well as hearings on the threat of domestic terror groups, and those conversations will continue.
    Goodlatte's office did not respond to a request from CNN for comment on the draft resolution.
    Recent efforts by House Democrats to press the Judiciary panel to take up "resolutions of inquiry" on issues related to the Trump campaign's alleged collusion with Russia in the 2016 election have been voted down on party line votes. But in the aftermath of what happened in Charlottesville congressional Republicans have been more willing to publicly criticize the President.
    Homeland Security Committee Chairman Rep. Mike McCaul, R-Texas, announced Wednesday that his panel would hold a hearing on September 12 with and he was inviting witnesses from the Department of Homeland Security, the FBI, and the National Counterterrorism Center.