Cantwell Says Trump Should Have Stood Against Racism in Charlottesville

By:  Joel Connelly
Source: The Seattle Pi

President Trump should have reacted to Saturday's lethal white supremacists' riot by flying to Charlottesville, Virginia, and "marching arm in arm" with opponents of racism, and declaring: "We will fight this," Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., said Wednesday.

The senator, speaking of Trump's blame-both-sides news conference on Tuesday, said it is "so disturbing that the President of the United States" has failed to uphold the nation's values." She added that Trump-generated chaos has created "an inability to focus on policy."

A mass shooting in 2015, by a young man who had draped himself in the Confederate flag, led to  one of the great, moving moments in the presidency of Trump's predecessor.

When white supremacist Dylann Roof murdered nine people at a Charleston, South Carolina, church,  President Obama traveled to the city, delivered a eulogy to the victims, and broke into the hymn "Amazing Grace."

Cantwell was appearing at a major Seattle infrastructure announcement, the securing of federal dollars to at last proceed with construction of a highway overpass at 1st and Lander. It will carry Port of Seattle truck traffic up and over a major railroad crossing.

With major infrastructure needs, and the prospect of bipartisan support, Cantwell found it hard to believe that Trump turned an infrastructure announcement into Tuesday's rant.  The President, to visible dismay of his staff, argued that anti-racism demonstrators, mainly students, share blame for violence with Nazis and Ku Klux Klansmen.

"In business, we think of cost-effectiveness," said Cantwell. "He (Trump) seems more interested in contradicting our national norms and our beliefs."

Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., on Wednesday cosponsored a House resolution that would censure Trump for his remarks on Tuesday.

One Washington lawmaker has put a bit of distance between herself and Trump.  Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., defended Trump tweets during a Spokane town meeting last week, saying use of Twitter was a way for the 45th president to communicate directly with the American people.

On Tuesday, however, McMorris Rodgers tweeted:"White supremacy, racism, bigotry, any other form of hate have no place in our society.  Period." In a second tweet, McMorris Rodgers, a member of the House Republican leadership, said"White supremacy and bigoted violence -- it's repulsive and has no place here."

RELATED: Connelly: UW president reflects on brother murdered by KKK, Nazis

McMorris Rodgers did not break with  Trump, who carried her Eastern Washington district in 2016. Likewise Rep. Dave Reichert, R-Wash., whose district went narrowly for Hillary Clinton. But Reichert singled out those Trump let off easy.

"Let me be clear," Reichert said in a Wednesday statement, "there is no defense for the KKK or white supremacists and the racist views they stand for and they must be condemned universally and decisively."