House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Friday endorsed an effort to censure President Trump for his equivocating response to the violence resulting from a white supremacist march in Charlottesville, Va.
“Every day, the President gives us further evidence of why such a censure is necessary. Indeed, with each passing day, it becomes clearer that the Republican Congress must declare whether it stands for our sacred American values or with the President who embraces white nationalism,” Pelosi said in a statement.
“Democrats will use every avenue to challenge the repulsiveness of President Trump’s words and actions.”
Earlier this week, Democratic Reps. Jerrold Nadler (N.Y.), Bonnie Watson Coleman (N.J.) and Pramila Jayapal (Wash.) unveiled a resolution that would censure Trump for his “inadequate response to the violence” and “failure to immediately and specifically name and condemn the white supremacist groups responsible for actions of domestic terrorism.”
So far, only Democrats have signed on to the resolution.
Democrats are considering "a number of options" to possibly force a vote on the censure resolution, according to an aide.
Possibilities include filing a discharge petition, a tool frequently used by the minority party that requires at least 218 signatures to proceed. Discharge petitions are rarely successful.
Democrats could also file a resolution of inquiry, which would automatically trigger a vote in the committee of jurisdiction within 14 legislative days. Resolutions of inquiry demand documents from the executive branch, so, in this case, such a measure could request information on how the administration is working to counter white supremacist groups.
They might also be able to force a floor vote by folding the censure measure into what’s known as a privileged resolution, which argues that an issue concerns the dignity and integrity of the House.
Democrats are still trying to establish if other procedural avenues would be available to them and therefore have not finalized any plans at this point.
The censure resolution is part of Democrats’ kitchen-sink strategy against Trump for his handling of the Charlottesville violence. Democrats in the past several days have sent letters, demanded hearings and even called for impeachment to pressure Republicans in Congress and keep the issue in the headlines.
Congress has rarely ever moved to censure a president. And no president has ever been condemned by both chambers at the same time.
The Senate has voted only once to censure a president: Andrew Jackson in 1834 for moving to dismantle the Bank of the United States. But Jackson’s allies ultimately revoked the resolution three years later upon gaining control of the Senate.
The House has considered a handful of measures to censure or rebuke presidents, like John Tyler in 1842 for abuse of powers and James Buchanan in 1860 for the handling of Navy contracts.
Some Democrats pushed to censure President Bill ClintonWilliam (Bill) Jefferson ClintonVirginia governor's race enters new phase as early voting begins Business coalition aims to provide jobs to Afghan refugees Biden nominates ex-State Department official as Export-Import Bank leader MORE during his impeachment trial in 1998 to avoid a vote to force him out of office but were unsuccessful.