RNC adopts resolution condemning white supremacists

RNC adopts resolution condemning white supremacists

The Republican National Committee adopted a resolution on Friday denouncing white supremacists amid discomfort among many party members about President Trump’s equivocating response to the violence in Charlottesville, Va., this month.

The resolution was adopted unanimously at the RNC’s summer gathering in Nashville, Tenn. 

It states that “the racist beliefs of Nazis, the KKK, white supremacists and other like-minded groups are completely inconsistent with the Republican Party’s platform” and “have no fruitful place in the United States.”

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The measure also invokes the GOP’s history as the party of President Abraham Lincoln, noting that “we recall that the Republican Party was founded in the struggle against slavery and a rejection of the racial beliefs underlying the institution of slavery.”

Bill Palatucci, an RNC committeeman from New Jersey who sponsored the resolution, said it was imperative for the organization to take a formal position making clear it condemns white supremacists.

“It's always important to quickly and clearly denounce racism and bigotry whenever we see it. As a member of the RNC I wanted no ambiguity that the organization condemned these white supremacists,” Palatucci wrote in an email to The Hill.

Heather Heyer, 32, died when a car allegedly driven by a white supremacist rammed into a crowd of counterprotesters in Charlottesville. Two Virginia state police officers also died in a helicopter crash while monitoring the clashes.

White supremacists and their sympathizers had originally organized a “Unite the Right” rally to protest the Charlottesville City Council’s decision to remove a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.

Trump drew widespread criticism from Democrats and Republicans alike when he initially blamed “many sides” for the violence in Charlottesville.

Two days later, under pressure from both parties, Trump delivered a statement from the White House declaring that “racism is evil” and that the KKK, white supremacists, neo-Nazis and other hate groups are “repugnant.”

Yet Trump later doubled down on his initial response in a press conference at Trump Tower the following day, when he again blamed “both sides” for the violence.

In the days after the Charlottesville march, RNC Chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel condemned white supremacists and squarely placed blame on the hate groups who initiated the events in Charlottesville.

"We don't want your vote, we don't support you, we'll speak out against you," McDaniel said on ABC's "Good Morning America" last week.

"The president was saying that people brought violence from both sides," McDaniel said. "And violence isn’t OK, but the blame lays squarely at the KKK, the white supremacists, the neo-Nazis who organized this rally, caused violence and are pushing hate across this country."

Notably, the resolution adopted by the RNC does not explicitly lay blame on white supremacists or “both sides” for the violence. Nor does it mention Trump or his handling of the events in Charlottesville.

It does state that “the Republican Party is unified in revulsion at the abhorrent white supremacist demonstration in Charlottesville, Virginia on August 12, 2017 that led to the loss of life and numerous injuries.”

House Republicans, meanwhile, are considering whether to hold a vote on a resolution of their own condemning the white supremacist demonstration and “racism, intimidation, and violence by all groups.”

But Democrats say the current text of the resolution echoes Trump’s equivocating language by condemning both the white supremacists “and counterprotesters engaged in acts of violence.”

Mike Lillis contributed.