By Joseph Morton
WASHINGTON — Nebraska Democrats have criticized members of the state’s all-Republican congressional delegation for not joining the growing GOP chorus criticizing President Donald Trump over his remarks this week about Charlottesville.
Former Rep. Brad Ashford, D-Neb., is seeking a rematch against Rep. Don Bacon, R-Neb. He criticized Bacon in a statement.
“President Trump made no distinction concerning a moral equivalence to Nazis and white supremacists,” Ashford said. “There is a definitive difference and Congressman Bacon should absolutely make that distinction clear to all.”
Bacon did issue a lengthy statement Tuesday night that he described as a response to the “murder of Heather Heyer; the comments made at today’s press conference; and the anger we are witnessing in our nation’s dialogue.”
That statement quoted Malcolm X but did not mention Trump by name.
“I hate all racism and find Nazis, white nationalists and all bigots repugnant,” Bacon said. “I also despise the violence that is so rampant in our society. Racist violence that killed Heather Heyer is despicable. So is the political violence that gravely injured Steve Scalise.”
Scalise is the Republican congressman from Louisiana shot earlier this year during practice for a congressional baseball game.
Democrat Kara Eastman, who is also running for the 2nd District nomination, replied to Bacon’s statement via Twitter.
“It’s time for leaders in NE who have the words to condemn white supremacy, nazism and racism.”
Most other Republicans representing Nebraska and western Iowa in the House and Senate have opted not to issue press releases about Charlottesville. Instead, they have denounced hate, racism and violence via Twitter.
But those tweets did not include references to Trump.
Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., for example, criticized those who were marching in Charlottesville to chants of “blood and soil.”
“These people are utterly revolting — and have no understanding of America,” he wrote.
Sasse later reiterated past criticism of all “identity politics” but avoided mentioning Trump or his comments.
Rep. Jeff Fortenberry initially tweeted a quote by Martin Luther King Jr. in response to Charlottesville.
He then posted a statement Thursday on his website condemning the violence. Neither mentioned Trump.
Democratic challenger Dennis Crawford has criticized Fortenberry, noting the sharp denunciations of Trump that have been coming from other Republicans around the country.
“As your representative in Congress, I can guarantee you that I would stand up to and speak out against racism, anti-Semitism, white nationalism and hate,” Crawford wrote. “Period. Full Stop. No exceptions.”