The nation is still reeling from the deadly white nationalist fueled violence that rocked Charlottesville, Virginia, this weekend. A gathering of thousands of white nationalists meant to protest the removal of statues honoring Confederate war icons ended in three deaths; one person was killed in a car ramming attack, and two police officers were killed when their helicopter crashed.
The president has refused to specifically call out the white nationalist groups at the center of the violence. Instead, he has insisted that responsibility what has been going on rests “with many sides.”
The Illinois State Senate, however, is not interested in waiting around for the president to catch up to the fact that white nationalism and neo-Nazism has no place in modern society.
The Chicago Tribune reports that Illinois’ upper legislative branch has passed a resolution asking law enforcement officials to recognize neo-Nazi groups as terrorist organizations.
The driver of the car that killed one and wounded nineteen more is himself already facing possible domestic terrorism charges. After U.S. Senator Ted Cruz, of all people, called for him to face terror charges, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said on Monday that the car ramming incident “meets the definition of domestic terrorism.” Sessions added that “terrorism investigators from the FBI are working on the case as well as civil rights division FBI agents.”
The Illinois State Senate wants the U.S. to be more proactive.
Sponsoring Sen. Don Harmon said of his resolution — which passed on Sunday:
‘It is vital that we stand in total opposition to the hatred, bigotry and violence displayed by the white nationalist and neo-Nazi groups in Charlottesville this past weekend. They are the heirs to the Ku Klux Klan and the Nazis. We fought two bloody wars in opposition to their ideologies. We must continue to fight those same twisted ideologies today.’
The Illinois State Senate isn’t the only voice against the president’s relative inaction on white supremacy.
For instance, Utah’s GOP Senator Orrin Hatch stated of the white supremacists marching in Charlottesville:
‘Their tiki torches may be fueled by citronella but their ideas are fueled by hate, & have no place in civil society. We should call evil by its name. My brother didn’t give his life fighting Hitler for Nazi ideas to go unchallenged here at home.’
Colorado’s GOP Senator Cory Gardner was more direct in his criticism of the president, posting a message on Twitter reading:
‘Mr. President — we must call evil by its name. These were white supremacists and this was domestic terrorism.’
Gardner’s statement came days before AG Sessions publicly stated that the car ramming attack in Charlottesville was “domestic terrorism.”
The president, as mentioned, has yet to specifically call out white supremacist groups. Instead, the last public statement he made about the violence claimed that responsibility rests with “many sides.”
The issue at hand, however, is not one of difference of opinion or of shared responsibility. The white supremacist who drove his car into a crowd of protesters was a domestic terrorist — and those who support him in the white nationalist movement are, at the very least, terror sympathizers.
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