House Democrats are introducing a formal resolution to denounce President Donald Trump for saying that “both sides” are to blame for a violent encounter between white supremacists and neo-Nazis and the activists who showed up to protest them.
While the censure is unlikely to see traction in the GOP-led House, it serves as a rebuke to Trump and mirrors some of the Republican criticism the president has faced for his remarks.
“A president of the United States cannot support neo-Nazis. It’s just beyond the pale,” said Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., a member of the House Judiciary Committee. “I hope Republicans who have expressed outrage with what he said put their money where their mouth is.”
Just three Democrats have signed onto the measure, but Nadler says he expects more to follow.
With this tactic, Democrats are taking a page from Republicans who frequently filed censure resolutions against President Barack Obama and members of his administration. Most died on the vine, but the Republican-controlled House of Representatives in 2012 voted to censure then-Attorney General Eric Holder for his role in the botched Fast and Furious gun-running operation into Mexico.
A number of lawmakers also introduced censures against Bill Clinton over his affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky and resolutions were filed against George W. Bush for authorizing a no-warrant domestic surveillance program.
One president was formally censured: President Andrew Jackson in 1834 was admonished by the Senate for refusing to turn over documents that lawmakers had requested.
The current resolution calls for lawmakers to “censure and condemn” Trump for what it calls an “inadequate” response to the violence on Saturday in Charlottesville, Va.
The White House did not respond to a request for comment.