DENVER – U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette, D-Colo., is co-sponsoring a resolution with three other Democratic members of Congress to censure President Donald Trump for his repeated condemnation of “both sides” at Charlottesville, in which white supremacists held a large rally and one of them allegedly killed a 32-year-old counter-protester.
DeGette is just one of more than 79 co-sponsors of the resolution, which was introduced at a Friday pro forma session in the House of Representatives. Its original sponsors are Reps. Jerrold Nadler of New York, Bonnie Watson Coleman of New Jersey and Pramila Jayapal of Washington—all Democrats.
Censure in terms of the government is a condemnation of a public official meant to send a message more than anything, and doesn’t carry the teeth or official structure that impeachment proceedings do.
Heather Heyer, 32, died after being hit by a car allegedly driven by James Fields Jr., a white supremacist who is now charged with murder and other crimes, and who faces a federal terrorism probe. Her mother said Friday she would not speak with Trump after his comments.
It also contains three points that say Trump has surrounded himself with and encouraged sympathizers of white supremacists:
- It says Trump has “surrounded himself with, and cultivated the influence of, senior advisors and spokespeople who have long histories of promoting white nationalist, racist, and anti-Semitic principles and policies within the country;”
- That Trump “has provided encouragement and little to no denunciation of white supremacist groups and individuals who promote their bigoted, nationalist ideology and policies; and”
- That Trump has “failed to provide adequate condemnation and assure the American people of his resolve to opposing domestic terrorism.”
The resolution names top Trump advisers Steve Bannon and Sebastian Gorka as people who have “ties to white supremacist movements,” and urges Trump “to fire any and all White House advisors who have urged him to cater to the white supremacist movement in the United States.”
Late Friday morning, the New York Times was reporting that Trump had told aides he will push Bannon out of the White House. That was confirmed by multiple press outlets, including ABC News, minutes later.
Members of the House can be stripped of committee chairmanships if they are censured. According to ABC News and the Congressional Research Service, 23 members of the House have been censured before—the most recent being in 2010 when Rep. Charlie Rangel, D-NY, was censured for not paying taxes. Nine senators have been censured since 1978, according to ABC News.
Though some resolutions to censure several presidents—including Abraham Lincoln, Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton, among others—have been introduced, Andrew Jackson was the only president to actually be censured by either chamber of Congress.
The Senate censured him (mostly on party lines from the opposition Whig party) in 1834 over his failure to communicate why he’d vetoed the charter of a U.S. bank. But it was later invalidated when his own party regained control of the Senate, according to the Congressional Research Service.