RNC votes to con­demn hate groups over groans

The Progress-Index Weekend - - FRONT PAGE - By Thomas Beau­mont The As­so­ci­ated Press

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Repub­li­can Na­tional Com­mit­tee walked the tightrope Fri­day in care­fully but res­o­lutely de­nounc­ing white su­prem­a­cist groups with­out crit­i­ciz­ing Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump, who waf­fled in his own state­ments in the wake of the deadly clash in Vir­ginia this month. And while the vote was unan­i­mous, some mem­bers had grum­bled the res­o­lu­tion was un­nec­es­sary and re­flected un­nec­es­sary de­fen­sive­ness.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Repub­li­can Na­tional Com­mit­tee walked the tightrope Fri­day in care­fully but res­o­lutely de­nounc­ing white su­prem­a­cist groups with­out crit­i­ciz­ing Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump, who waf­fled in his own state­ments in the wake of the deadly clash in Vir­ginia this month.

Meet­ing in Nashville, Ten­nessee, the RNC ap­proved a raft of res­o­lu­tions, in­clud­ing one as­sert­ing “Nazis, the KKK, white su­prem­a­cists and oth­ers are re­pul­sive, evil and have no fruit­ful place in the United States.”

And while the vote was unan­i­mous, some mem­bers had grum­bled the res­o­lu­tion was un­nec­es­sary and re­flected un­nec­es­sary de­fen­sive­ness.

“It’s amaz­ing that we have been lured into this ar­gu­ment that we’re not racists. It’s ab­surd,” said Colorado Repub­li­can Chair­man Jeff Hays. “Why would we feel com­pelled to do that?”

The sen­ti­ment re­flects a dif­fer­ence be­tween RNC lead­ers con­cerned about the party’s im­age in light of Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s latest rhetor­i­cal thicket and newer, more ar­dently proTrump state Repub­li­can lead­ers who say such a state­ment ap­pears de­fen­sive.

But this was a pri­or­ity for Chair­woman Ronna Rom­ney McDaniel, as well as for com­mit­tee mem­bers who were openly both­ered by Trump’s ini­tial re­sis­tance to sin­gling out the racist groups af­ter the Char­lottesville vi­o­lence.

Hear­ing about the grum­bling, McDaniel made the rounds Fri­day morn­ing to re­in­force with mem­bers that the mea­sure was a pri­or­ity.

“Ev­ery day, I wake up proud that we’re the party of Lin­coln,” McDaniel told the com­mit­tee Fri­day. “Con­demn­ing vi­o­lence is not a Repub­li­can or Demo­cratic is­sue. It is an Amer­i­can is­sue.”

De­spite the res­o­lu­tion, there doesn’t ap­pear to be a soft­en­ing of sup­port for the pres­i­dent within the party’s na­tional or­ga­ni­za­tion.

Rather, what was to be a sleepy, pro-forma late sum­mer gath­er­ing seemed to spark re­newed back­ing for the pres­i­dent de­spite a se­ries of re­cent set­backs: the GOP’s stun­ning fail­ure to re­peal and re­place “Oba­macare”; the fu­ri­ous back­lash over his com­ments about the white su­prem­a­cist rally in Char­lottesville, Vir­ginia; and the de­par­ture of crowd fa­vorite Reince Priebus, the former RNC chair­man, as Trump’s chief of staff.

“The pres­i­dent was not wrong to point out what the me­dia has failed to point out,” that counter-pro­test­ers also “came for a bat­tle” in Char­lottesville, said Penn­syl­va­nia Repub­li­can Chair­man Val DiGior­gio.

DiGior­gio stood by the “many sides” com­ment Trump made im­me­di­ately af­ter the clash in Vir­ginia, in which a car was driven into a crowd of counter-pro­test­ers, killing a woman. The pres­i­dent was crit­i­cized harshly by both Repub­li­cans and Democrats be­cause he didn’t im­me­di­ately de­nounce the white na­tion­al­ist groups.

There was pal­pa­ble con­tempt in the con­fer­ence room for counter-pro­test­ers who were ready to fight. RNC mem­ber Mor­ton Black­well, who af­firmed his sup­port for the res­o­lu­tion, said “Ev­ery per­son who came to Char­lottesville in­tend­ing vi­o­lence was evil.”

Bill Palatucci, a RNC com­mit­tee­man from New Jer­sey who spon­sored the res­o­lu­tion, said it was im­por­tant for the com­mit­tee to for­mally de­nounce white su­prem­a­cists. Palatucci said, “I think he got it wrong a week ago Tues­day, in re­gards to Char­lottesville,” when Trump said dur­ing a free-wheel­ing, de­fi­ant news con­fer­ence that there were “very fine peo­ple on both sides” at the demon­stra­tion.

[MARK HUMPHREY/THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS]

Amy Hedtke of Wax­a­hachie, Texas, takes notes as she lis­tens dur­ing a ses­sion of the stand­ing com­mit­tee on rules at the Repub­li­can Na­tional Com­mit­tee sum­mer meet­ing Thurs­day in Nashville, Tenn.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.