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Opinion

Editorial: Rebuking Trump for his naked bigotry is the least Washington can do

President Trump Hosts “Made In America” Product Showcase At The White House
President Trump in Washington on June 15.
(Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images)

The resolution House Democrats plan to pass condemning President Trump for his xenophobic, offensive tweets over the weekend is just that — a resolution, without consequences or punishment. It’s not a move toward impeachment, which House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) has repeatedly said she opposes. It’s not even an official “censure,” which is a more serious and formal rebuke that has been used rarely in American history.

If anything, this is less than he deserves. Trump is the most intolerant, mean-spirited, dangerous president this country has elected in many years; insulting, degrading and polarizing Americans is second nature to him. And even by his own very low standards, his comments this weekend were especially odious.

But by all means, hand him a blunt rebuke — for demeaning civic discourse, dividing his country and passing off prejudice as plain-spoken wisdom. When he tweeted on Sunday that the four progressive members of the House known as “the Squad” — Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ayanna S. Pressley of Massachusetts — should “go back” to the “crime-infested places from which they came,” he not only betrayed (as if it was any secret) his visceral dislike of immigrants but also engaged in a bigoted trope about members of minority groups not being real Americans, even when they’re born in the United States.

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Unsurprisingly, Trump doubled down multiple times on Monday. He lashed out at Pelosi for what he said were her racist comments (after she accurately noted that his slogan “Make America Great Again” has “always been about making America white again”). He renewed his attacks on the four congresswomen, all of whom are women of color, for what he called their “horrible and disgusting actions” and “racist hatred.” He even suggested they might be communists.

Internet troll that he is, he was clearly reveling in the furor he had set off.

If Pelosi is correct that impeachment would be unwise — because the Republican-controlled Senate won’t go along and the country will be only more bitterly divided — then those of us who value democracy and don’t want to descend deeper into demagoguery will have to come together at last to denounce Trump and ensure that he is not re-elected. You don’t have to love Ocasio-Cortez or agree with everything Omar says to reject Trump’s ignorant comments.

Republicans, moderates, independents — where are you? This is not about left versus right; it is about defending shared American values. This is not about socialism versus conservatism but about bigotry and prejudice, issues on which we should have no disagreement.

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Politicians of all persuasions, this is no time for neutrality or equivocation. No time to be cowed by political expediency. It is long past time to speak up forcefully against the politics of attack, prejudice, ignorance and fear.

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