Conservative Lawyers’ Group Condemns Trump’s ‘Ignorant Racist Nature’
“We refuse to share the silence of most of the Republican caucus in Congress, whose timidity in the face of this abhorrent behavior reflects the debased politics of the day,” the group Checks and Balances said in a statement.
By Mike Scarcella | July 15, 2019 at 06:27 PM
A group of libertarian and conservative lawyers that formed to counter alleged transgressions of legal norms by the Trump administration issued a statement Monday condemning tweets from the president that urged four minority female Democratic House members to “go back” to their home countries.
Trump’s tweets, saying four freshmen members of the U.S. House should “fix” their home countries before criticizing the U.S., deeply angered Democrats but left Republicans largely silent. All four of the lawmakers are U.S. citizens, and three of them were born in the United States.
The lawyers’ group Checks and Balances, whose members include George Conway, the husband of Trump counselor Kellyanne Conway, lambasted Trump’s statements as a “rejection” of the country’s founding principles.
“We refuse to share the silence of most of the Republican caucus in Congress, whose timidity in the face of this abhorrent behavior reflects the debased politics of the day,” the statement said. “We add our voices to those who condemn the President’s ignorant racist nature and urge all citizens of whatever party to join us in rejecting a politics of division that is an affront to the rule of law.”
In addition to George Conway, of counsel to Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, other signatories included Harvard Law School professor Charles Fried, a former Reagan administration U.S. solicitor general; John Bellinger, former State Department legal adviser in the George W. Bush administration who now leads Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer’s global law and public policy practice; Donald Ayer, a former Justice Department lawyer and retired Jones Day partner; Peter Keisler of Sidley Austin, a former U.S. solicitor general; and Kirkland & Ellis partner Andrew Sagor, a former State Department official.
In 2016, Sagor, formerly at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, said he “never envisioned voting for Hillary Clinton, but I will do so and it will not be a difficult decision given the choice that is before us.” Ayer in recent weeks has written extensively on Robert Mueller’s Russia report, urging the special counsel to publicly address whether he thinks Trump committed a crime. Keisler and Bellinger appeared recently on an amicus brief as opposing the Trump administration’s border-wall funding.
The statement said that the signatories “speaks and acts solely in our individual capacities, and our views should not be attributed to any organization we may be affiliated with.”
As House Democrats on Monday moved to formally rebuke Trump over his incendiary tweets, the president denied his statements were racist. “It doesn’t concern me because many people agree with me,” Trump told reporters at the White House.
One of the four House Democrats targeted by Trump, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, told reporters late Monday that Trump’s tweets were “the agenda of white nationalists … This is his plan to put us against one another,” The Washington Post reported.
Checks and Balances said in its statement that “as conservatives or libertarians, we have profound disagreements with the policies advocated by the Congressional targets of Trump’s tweets. But they, like all Americans, are entitled to be treated with respect.”
Writing in an op-ed column at The Washington Post on Monday, George Conway said: “Naivete, resentment and outright racism, roiled in a toxic mix, have given us a racist president. Trump could have used vile slurs, including the vilest of them all, and the intent and effect would have been no less clear.”
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