Virginia Senators Urge Measure Condemning White Nationalists
Virginia's two Democratic senators joined with two Republican senators to sponsor a resolution condemning white nationalists, neo-Nazis and other hate groups following a white-nationalist rally in Virginia that descended into deadly violence.
Democratic Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine introduced the joint resolution Wednesday along with Republican Sens. Cory Gardner of Colorado and Johnny Isakson of Georgia. The resolution recognizes the Aug. 12 death of 32-year-old Heather Heyer and injuries suffered by 19 others after a car allegedly driven by a neo-Nazi slammed into a crowd of demonstrators protesting a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville.
The resolution specifically describes Heyer's death as a "domestic terrorist attack" and acknowledges two Virginia State Police troopers who died when their helicopter crashed while monitoring the protests. Trooper Berke Bates and Lt. Jay Cullen died in the crash.
The resolution expresses support for the people of Charlottesville and urges healing following what it calls "this horrific and violent display of bigotry." The resolution also calls on the Trump administration to use all available resources to improve data collection on hate crimes and work in a coordinated way to address hate groups in America.
If approved by the Senate, the joint resolution would go to the House, where Democratic Rep. Gerry Connolly of Virginia is leading efforts to approve it. If adopted by both chambers, the resolution would go to President Donald Trump.
Trump has been criticized for his response following the violent white nationalist rally in Charlottesville over the city's planned removal of a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee. Trump asserted there were good people on "both sides" of the Charlottesville rally and bemoaned rising efforts to remove Confederate monuments as an attack on America's "history and culture."
The Senate resolution is supported by a range of civil rights groups, including the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, the Anti-Defamation League and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.