A Rabbi Asked Paul Ryan if He Supports Censuring Trump for His Comments on Charlottesville. Here’s What He Said.

By Kenrya Rankin Aug 22, 2017

Last week, President Donald Trump made several comments about the racist violence that White nationalists, neo-Nazis and members of the Ku Klux Klan visited on Charlottesville, Virginia, finally landing on the view that some of the White supremacists were “very fine people” and “there’s blame on both sides.”

On August 18, 78 House Democrats, led by Jerrold Nadler of New York, introduced House Resolution 496, which calls for censure, or formal reprimand, of Trump for his comments. From the resolution:

The House of Representatives does hereby censure and condemn President Donald Trump for his inadequate response to the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, on August 12, 2017, his failure to immediately and specifically name and condemn the White supremacist groups responsible for actions of domestic terrorism, for reasserting that “both sides” were to blame and excusing the violent behavior of participants in the “Unite the Right” rally, and for employing people with ties to White supremacist movements in the White House, such as Steve Bannon and Sebastian Gorka; and does hereby urge President Donald Trump to fire any and all White House advisors who have urged him to cater to the White supremacist movement in the United States.

Yesterday (August 21), during a town hall in Racine, Wisconsin, Rabbi Dena Feingold asked House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) what “concrete steps” he would take to hold the president accountable “when his words and executive actions either implicitly or explicitly condone—if not champion—racism and xenophobia. For example, will you support the resolution for censure?”

Ryan’s response: “I will not support that, I think that will be so counterproductive. If we descend this issue into some partisan hack fest, into some bickering against each other and demean it down into some kind of political food fight, what good does that do to unify this country? We want to unify this country against this kind of hatred and this kind of bigotry.”

He went on to talk about his views of White supremacy, saying, “This idea that human being, someone is intrinsically more superior than another one is a repugnant, repulsive idea that strikes against everything we believe in and stand for in this country.”

Ryan ended his response by saying that, “We should be unifying ourselves and calling out bigotry when we see it and we hear it,”—which is exactly what the resolution for censure does.

Watch clips of the exchange above, courtesy of CNN.