Congress on Tuesday passed a resolution attempting to put President Trump on the spot in making an explicit condemnation of white supremacist groups and ideology in the aftermath of protests and loss of life in Charlottesville, Virginia.
The Charlottesville resolution was introduced by a bipartisan group, and unanimously passed the Senate, and passed on a voice vote – without objection – in the House.
It now goes to the desk of President Trump, who must decide whether or not to sign it. Usually “sense of the Congress” resolutions aren’t sent to the president, but this bill was sponsored it as a joint resolution in order to trigger the normal legislative procedure for passing laws.
The bill takes no action. Instead, it condemns “white supremacists, white nationalists, neo-Nazis, the Ku Klux Klan, and associated groups,” and also urges the President to “speak out against hate groups that 15 espouse racism, extremism, xenophobia, anti-Semitism, and White supremacy.”
Charlottesville resolution offers condolences to victims
Additionally, the bill offers official condolences to the family of Heather Heyer, killed in what the bill calls an act of domestic terrorism, as well as two Virginia state troopers who died in a helicopter crash while monitoring the protests.
Trump is not likely to veto such a bill. He could refuse to sign or veto it, thus allowing the bill to pass into law without his approval or objection. But the optics of that move would hardly be any better. Instead, Trump is likely to quietly sign the resolution that offers a thinly-veiled rebuke of his own statements in the aftermath of Charlottesville.
Symbolism might not count for much without any real policy change. Still, bipartisan super-majorities – in this case, everyone – in Congress have once again forced Trump to do something he doesn’t want to do. Veto-proof supermajorities did the same thing to Trump on Russia sanctions.
Once again, Trump is likely to quietly accept the result rather than invite an embarrassing veto override from a legislative branch controlled by his own party.
(Photo of President Donald Trump during a joint press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)