While it seems difficult to call for impeachment of Donald Trump in a Republican-controlled house, U.S. Rep. Eliot Engel hopes to at least get some momentum toward a different punishment — censure.
Engel wants to slap Trump for his response to the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, earlier this month, after equating white supremacist and neo-Nazi groups with counter-protesters fighting intolerance.
“President Trump’s response to the violence in Charlottesville was a disgrace to the office of the president,” Engel said in a statement. “He displayed a callousness that cannot be ignored or trivialized. His defense of individuals who stood on the side of white nationalists, saying some of them were ‘very fine people,’ was outrageous.
“His words were an affront to our shared American values and deserve our condemnation, which is why my colleagues and I have taken this extraordinary step to introduce a resolution to censure.”
The censure resolution was created by three Democratic congressmen — Jerrold Nadler of New York, Bonnie Watson Coleman of New Jersey, and Pramila Jayapal of Washington. It was co-sponsored by 79 other members of Congress.
While some could view a censure as a first-step toward impeachment, it typically is nothing more than formalizing a complaint against the executive branch. And with Republicans controlling the house — and not seeming to back the censure — it’s not likely to get any traction in the chamber.
However, soon after the censure was introduced, former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi endorsed the action, calling Trump’s reaction to Charlottesville “repulsive.”
Gov. Andrew Cuomo has called on the U.S. Army to start removing references of Civil War generals on the Confederate side of the fight from New York-based bases.
Cuomo crafted a letter to Acting Secretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy on Aug. 16 after the U.S. Army denied requests by community leaders and legislators to remove two streets named after Stonewall Jackson and Robert E. Lee from the Fort Hamilton Army Base. The streets, according to Cuomo, are “controversial and divisive,” citing recent violent clashes at protests in Charlottesville, Virginia.
“The events of Charlottesville and the tactics of white supremacists are a poison in our national discourse, and every effort must be made to combat them,” Cuomo said. “Symbols of slavery and racism have no place in New York. In our state, we condemn the language and violence of white supremacy in no uncertain terms.
“Unlike President Trump, we stand together to say that there are not many sides to hatred and bigotry. They do not belong in our communities, and must be denounced for what they are.”
The base, located in Brooklyn, is the fourth oldest military installation in the United States, and includes both Lee and Jackson as one-time tenants of the base, according to its website.
Bronx borough president Ruben Diaz Jr., called for Bronx Community College to remove the busts of Confederate generals Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson from its Hall of Fame for Great Americans. And Diaz didn’t have to ask twice, as BCC president Thomas Isekenegbe quickly removed both.
“For 60 years, Bronx Community College … has remained committed to reflecting its values of diversity and inclusion in all of its actions and statements,” Isekenegbe said in a statement. “Embracing difference includes creating space where all people feel respected, welcomed and valued.”
Diaz minced no words when it came to the statues of Lee and Jackson on the school’s campus.
“There is nothing great about two men who committed treason against the United States to fight to keep the institution of slavery intact,” he said.