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Isakson aims to pressure Trump on Charlottesville response

WASHINGTON -- A new measure from U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson seeks to pressure President Donald Trump to more sharply condemn white supremacists in the aftermath of last month's fatal protests in Charlottesville, Va.

Isakson and a bipartisan group of senators introduced a joint resolution on Wednesday that calls on the Trump administration to use all available resources to improve data collection on hate crimes and coordinate plans to address the "growing prevalence" of hate groups such as the Ku Klux Klan and neo-Nazis. It also labels the events in Charlottesville as a "domestic terrorist attack”

The measure is more confrontational than your average resolution, since it will require Trump's signature should it pass through both chambers of Congress.

Isakson has been more critical of Trump's response to Charlottesville than many of his Republican colleagues, saying that the commander-in-chief should have condemned the violence faster and more decisively. But he stopped short of denouncing Trump on personal terms.

“Any pause could be measured as too long," Isakson told GPB Radio's "Political Rewind" last month. "Because, how do you gauge the measurement? It should be swift, it should be concise. It should be to the point. And it should leave no room for equivocation or speculation on anybody’s mind as to where the president stands.”

He took a more historical tack in a speech before the Georgia Chamber last month, invoking Benjamin Franklin and Martin Luther King Jr. in his denunciation of the attacks.

But this week's resolution represents Isakson's most direct confrontation of the president yet on Charlottesville.

Read more: 

Georgia GOP lawmakers condemn white supremacists but steer clear of Trump

In Atlanta, Gore urges Trump to ‘try again’ with response to Charlottesville attacks

Johnny Isakson: Donald Trump shouldn’t have dithered over Charlottesville

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About the Author

Tamar Hallerman is The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Washington correspondent, covering Congress, federal agencies and other government activities that impact Georgia.