NASHVILLE - U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., announced today he will introduce articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump, accusing the president of having "failed the presidential test of moral leadership" following Trump's statements this week about the deadly protests in Charlottesville, Va.
"[A]fter the President's comments on Saturday, August 12 and again on Tuesday, August 15 in response to the horrific events in Charlottesville, I believe the President should be impeached and removed from office," the Memphis congressman said in a statement.
Cohen, the ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice, said that "instead of unequivocally condemning hateful actions by neo-Nazis, white nationalists and Klansmen following a national tragedy, the President said 'there were very fine people on both sides.'
"There are no good Nazis. There are no good Klansmen," Cohen said, adding "we fought a World War to defeat Nazis and a Civil War to defeat the Confederacy."
Trump has been engulfed in controversy following his comments regarding last weekend's violence in Charlottesville, Va., following demonstrations by white supremacists, neo-Nazis, Ku Klux Klan members and others in the self-styled "white nationalist" and "alt-right" movements.
The groups were demonstrating against plans to remove a statute of Confederate military leader, Gen. Robert E. Lee, by the city. Events culminated in a driver of a car plowing into a crowd of counter-protesters, killing a 32-year-old woman and injuring 19 others. The alleged driver, who has been reported to be a white supremacist, has been charged.
After Trump's initial comments declining to single out the white supremacists ignited a furor, the president on Monday specifically singled out and denounced by name neo-Nazis, the KKK and other groups participating.
But on Wednesday he reverted back to his original position that "both sides" were to blame.
And today, the president hit twitter even as some of his fellow Republicans have publicly criticized him.
Trump denounced the growing movement to remove monuments erected to the Confederacy, charging the U.S. is witnessing the " history and culture of our great country being ripped apart."
Controversies are playing out on Tennessee's political stage as well. On Wednesday, U.S. Sens. Bob Corker and Lamar Alexander, both Tennessee Republicans, denounced the racist attacks in Charlottesville but declined to say anything about Trump.
Also on Wednesday, Tennessee state Rep. Micah Van Huss, R-Gray, posted to his Facebook page a statement in which he lumped Black Lives Matter, the KKK and neo-Nazis together as "racist hate groups."
Van Huss also wrote that "some of those groups have taken a banner that is dear to my heart and made it one of their symbols. For me, Robert E. Lee's battle flag is a symbol of freedom. Stonewall Jackson was my fathers [sic] hero."