WASHINGTON — When Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump didn’t immediately disavow former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke, it didn’t surprise House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) that much.
Pelosi and other Democrats have argued this week that Republican lawmakers are responsible for the rise of Trump and the campaign he is running.
“The sanctimony that was displayed in terms of ‘Oh, my gosh, can you believe he said that?’ — it’s stuff that we hear around here all the time,” Pelosi told reporters on Thursday.
While Pelosi said she didn’t think Trump is a reflection of Republicans “writ large across the country,” she called him an “accurate reflection of the actions taken or not taken by the House Republicans.”
Pelosi suggested that it was hypocritical of Republicans to distance themselves from Trump while obstructing congressional efforts to combat racism and inequality — for example, by blocking a measure to remove Confederate flags from the Capitol and by refusing to move legislation to renew the Voting Rights Act, which is currently stuck in committee.
“While they disassociate themselves from Trump’s association with right-wing white supremacist groups, they at the same time voted a number of times against our amendment to remove the Confederate flag from the Capitol,” she said.
Although the Confederate flag is a symbol of hate and racism to many, Republicans put forward a measure last year to allow the flag to be displayed on Confederate Memorial Day at graves on federal land, defying Democrats’ attempts to ban them.
Pelosi also denounced the GOP for touting family values and the “spark of divinity that exists within every person” while simultaneously “shutting the door to women and children from Latin America and Syria,” a reference to Republican efforts to block migrants and refugees from entering the country.
House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) condemned Trump earlier this week.
“If a person wants to be the nominee of the Republican Party, there can be no evasion and no games,” Ryan said. “They must reject any group or cause that is built on bigotry.”
Yet both leaders stood by their previous statements that they would ultimately support whoever ends up being their party’s nominee.
Editor’s note: Donald Trump is a serial liar, rampant xenophobe, racist, misogynist, birther and bully who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims — 1.6 billion members of an entire religion — from entering the U.S.
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