Saturday, September 16, 2017

Richard Cohen: President Trump must push back against the hate he's unleashed

  As events in Charlottesville last month reflect, President Trump’s incendiary rhetoric has energized the white supremacist movement.

  By signing the bipartisan congressional resolution against hate, he now has committed himself to undo the damage he has caused. We hope Congress will hold his feet to the fire and ensure that he lives up to his commitment.

  The bipartisan resolution recognizes “the growing prevalence of … hate groups in the United States.” It urges the President to speak out against all forms of bigotry and to commit the resources necessary to address the problem. For far too long, the country has failed to do so.

  The bipartisan resolution also urges the president “to improve the reporting of hate crimes.” For far too long, the country has not had an accurate picture of the plague of bias-motivated crimes. A recent report by the Bureau of Justice Statistics estimates that about 250,000 hate crimes occurred in 2015. Yet, the official FBI hate crime report shows that the country’s law enforcement agencies reported only about 6,000 hate crimes for that year.

  By signing the bipartisan congressional resolution, President Trump has committed himself to its goals. Now, Congress must hold regular oversight hearings to ensure that the President lives up to his commitment to the country. To borrow Rep. Mark Sanford’s words, President Trump has “unearthed some demons” in our country. We hope the President recognizes and takes responsibility for what he has done and reverses course.

  About the author: Richard Cohen is president of the Southern Poverty Law Center.

  This article was published by the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights organization.

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