Congress just put a bipartisan squeeze on President Donald Trump to condemn white supremacists and commit his administration’s resources to combating domestic terrorism by neo-Nazis and other racist groups.
The House passed the joint resolution by unanimous consent Tuesday night, a day after the Senate easily approved it.
The resolution comes weeks after Trump faced criticism from both sides of the political aisle for condemning “hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides” following the unrest in Virginia, equating the actions of white supremacists with those protesting them.
The House version was introduced last week by Rep. Tom Garrett (R-Va.), a conservative freshman who represents Charlottesville, and Rep. Gerald Connolly (D-Va.). It has the backing of Virginia’s entire delegation of seven Republicans and four Democrats.
The bipartisan joint resolution condemning the Charlottesville violence —as well as “white nationalists, white supremacists, the Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazis, and other hate groups”— will land on Trump’s desk to sign or veto.
Though resolutions are often passed to offer the sense of the House or Senate on various issues, they rarely head to the president for consideration. But backers of this measure structured it as a “joint resolution,” a move ensuring that passage would require Trump to weigh in on an issue that has dogged his presidency for weeks.
The resolution demands Trump to “speak out against hate groups that espouse racism, extremism, xenophobia, anti-Semitism, and White supremacy.” It also calls on the administration to “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.”
The measure also urges Attorney General Jeff Sessions to investigate any acts of violence or domestic terrorism perpetrated by white supremacists.
Trump sparked an uproar last month when he responded to the Charlottesville rally by condemning “hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides” rather than taking aim more explicitly at white supremacists. He also argued that some “very fine people” were among the white nationalist marchers. Though Trump later issued more forceful condemnations of white supremacists, he made clear at an Arizona rally in August that he preferred his initial response to the incident.
The White did not respond to requests for comment on the measure.