RNC approves anti-KKK resolution — after White House signoff – Politico

 In U.S.

RNC members are pictured. | AP Photo

Some GOP officials privately scoffed at the idea that the party felt the need to officially condemn the KKK in 2017. | Mark Humphrey/AP Photo

Politics

Members said it was important to formally condemn hate groups, but some privately scoffed that Republicans felt it was even necessary.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Republican National Committee on Friday unanimously approved a resolution condemning Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan, a move that comes just two weeks after President Donald Trump was widely criticized for going easy on white supremacist groups involved in the Charlottesville, Virginia, protests.

Some GOP officials privately scoffed at the idea that the party felt the need to officially condemn the KKK in 2017. But the move by the GOP’s official political arm — signed off on by the White House ahead of time — underscores the level of concern within the party over Trump’s comments on the protests and the impact they could have on the party heading into the 2018 midterm election.

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The resolution, sponsored by RNC member Bill Palatucci of New Jersey, states that “the racist beliefs of Nazis, the KKK, white supremacists and other like-minded groups are completely inconsistent with the Republican Party’s platform,” and that “the view that the color of one’s skin determines or should determine one’s standing, rights, opportunities, or duties to others is not consistent with the philosophy of the Republican Party.”

It adds: “The racist beliefs of the Nazis, the KKK, white supremacists and others are repulsive, evil, and have no fruitful place in the United States.”

The forceful statement contrasts with the approach taken by Trump, who came under widespread criticism for equating white supremacists in Charlottesville with those protesting them. Much of the fire has come from within the president’s own party, with senior GOP leaders arguing that the president needed to be far more forceful in singling out hate groups.

To underscore the peril confronting the party, the RNC’s chairwoman, Ronna Romney McDaniel, used a substantial part of her speech during Friday’s closing session to highlight the GOP’s opposition to extremist groups — even as she avoided any criticism of Trump.

“Last week, I joined the president in speaking out strongly against any group that uses hate or violence,” Romney McDaniel said.

Other GOP committee members also defended the need for a formal resolution.

“You can’t emphatically denounce the groups enough. You have to do it by name, you have to do it specifically,” said Virginia GOP Chairman John Whitbeck. “If nothing else, you want some leadership coming out of this. We’re the national party.”

Whitbeck, who oversees a party in a state with a 2017 governor’s race just months away, said the resolution was intended to be forceful and to call out specific groups that were involved in the Charlottesville violence.

However, the committee was careful to avoid a fight with the White House. Ahead of Friday’s approval, the committee received direct sign-off from the administration on that resolution and the nearly dozen or so other resolutions that were voted on, according to a party official briefed on the matter.

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