Will Any GOP Leaders Join the March from Charlottesville to D.C. to Confront White Supremacy?

On Monday, a coalition of community organizations and activists began a 10-day march from Charlottesville, Virginia, to Washington, D.C. to confront white supremacy. 

The coalition, comprised of groups including the Women’s March on Washington, Color of Change, Indivisible, Repairers of the Breach and the Movement for Black Lives, organized the march in response to what they called “President Donald Trump’s failure to confront the white supremacy on display” at Charlottesville. Marchers plan to stop at Confederate statues along the way.

Activist Heather Heyer was killed at the Charlottesville protest, which revolved around the city’s plan to remove a statue of Robert E. Lee. Heyer was fatally injured when a speeding car mowed down a group of counter-protesters. In the wake of the violence, several Republican leaders denounced Trump’s delayed response, in which he blamed “many sides.”

Monday was the 54-year anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech and the March on Washington, calling for an end to racism in the U.S. To commemorate the anniversary, several thousand clergy members from Christian, Jewish, Muslim and Sikh religions gathered in the capitol to call for racial justice.

A number of GOP groups, including the Ohio Republican Party, also commemorated the anniversary of MLK’s speech and the March on Washington. ORP posted this quote from Dr. King on its official Twitter page: “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”

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When considering GOP leaders’ response to white supremacy in America, what is the content of their character? Are any Republican leaders willing to join a leg of the peaceful march from Charlottesville to D.C to confront white supremacy?

Joe Biden, in an editorial in the Atlantic this past weekend, called on “Americans to do what President Trump has not.” Biden wrote:

“Today we have an American president who has publicly proclaimed a moral equivalency between neo-Nazis and Klansmen and those who would oppose their venom and hate.

“We have an American president who has emboldened white supremacists with messages of comfort and support.”

On Friday, the Republican National Committee condemned white supremacy but made no mention of Trump’s remarks. “This has nothing to do with the president,” said the resolution’s sponsor, Bill Palatucci, an RNC committeeman from New Jersey. “This is the RNC saying that racism and bigotry have no place in America.”

But talk is cheap. It is also proving ineffective. The Huffington Post reported that in the two weeks following the Charlottesville violence, “more than two dozen anti-Semitic incidents have occurred across the U.S.” 

Fox News reported that hate crime is on the rise: “They are in a stronger position than they have been in decades,” Steven Hahn, a Pulitzer Prize-winning historian at New York University, told Fox News. “The feel energized by Charlottesville and by the presidential election last year. I think we are in for an extended period of incidents like we saw in Virginia.”

Are Republican leaders’ statements sufficient to discourage white supremacists, and stem the tide of violence and domestic terrorism?

I reached out to the following GOP leaders about the march from Charlottesville to D.C., but as of this writing, I have not heard from any of them.

I previously wrote about Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s silence in response to the planned “Patriot Prayer” rally on federal land in San Francisco. Zinke has argued for preserving Confederate monuments. He told Breitbart in July that he is “an advocate for recognizing history as it is. Don’t rewrite history.”

Jane Timken is state chairman of the Ohio Republican Party. The group thought MLK’s speech was important enough to tweet about. Will Timken or anyone from the Ohio Republican Party join the march to confront white supremacy? 

How about anyone from the RNC? I have messaged their communications office, as well as Palatucci who sponsored their statement denouncing white supremacy.

How about Lindsey Graham, John McCain, Marco Rubio, Mitch McConnell, and Paul Ryan: Will any of these Republican leaders  who have publicly denounced white supremacy  be joining the marchers at some point?

Dr. King said, “He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it.” And, “To ignore evil is to become an accomplice to it.”

Silence is an act of complicity. So is making toothless statements. It’s time for Republican leaders to walk their talk — literally — and confront white supremacy in a demonstrable way.

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