The California State Assembly passed a resolution Friday urging a congressional censure of President Donald Trump for his statements about the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia.
The resolution, HR 57, was introduced by Assemblymember Tony Thurmond, D-Richmond, and calls on Congress to censure Trump because of the “moral equivalency” he gave white supremacists and counterprotesters in Charlottesville by stating that there was blame on “many sides.” The resolution passed with 53 votes in support and four in opposition.
“The leader of the free world can’t continue to use language that legitimizes the actions of extremists groups that promote hate,” Thurmond said in a press release issued Friday. “Congress must exercise its power to check the President by voting for his immediate censure.”
But Assemblymember Matthew Harper, R-Huntington Beach, who was one of the four assembly members to oppose the bill, said the amount of time spent discussing resolutions in opposition to Trump’s administration has been counterproductive.
“(It is) not a relevant state issue. We can’t censure the president (and) we can’t impeach the president,” Harper said. “We went to 2:30 a.m. on Saturday morning because there were multiple resolutions regarding Trump on that day.”
Terri Bimes, campus political science lecturer, said in an email that the assembly’s resolution is “largely symbolic.” She added that although censuring Trump is “highly unlikely,” because Republicans control both houses of Congress, a congressional censure of Trump would be symbolic and unrelated to the impeachment process.
According to Ayodeji Taylor, Thurmond’s communications director, the resolution is a house resolution, so it does not need to be passed in the State Senate or require Gov. Jerry Brown’s signature.
California is the first state to formally urge Congress to censure Trump. Taylor said in an email, however, that part of the bill’s purpose is to get other states to follow the California State Assembly’s lead.
“The President has only put gasoline to the fire that has hurt many people. He needs to understand that his words have consequences,” Taylor said in the email. “The U.S. Congress represents the entire nation. It’s important for Congress to know that people really want the President to be censured, because his words have only divided our nation.”