67 Former State Attorneys General Have a Message: Condemn Hate Bluntly

The statement — which was released Monday along with also also is actually conspicuously addressed not to President Trump or any some other official, however rather to the broad, unnamed public — begins, “There are times inside the life of a nation, or a president, or a state attorney general, when one is actually called upon to respond directly to the voice of hate.”


Statement by Former State Attorneys General

In a statement released Monday, 67 former state attorneys general called on Americans along with also also their leaders to condemn hate as unequivocally as Bill Baxley of Alabama did in 1976.

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Mr. Baxley’s example, This kind of continues, without directly quoting This kind of, should serve as inspiration for “all who seek to equivocate in times of moral crisis.”

Mr. Baxley “obviously spoke with real clarity — he just made This kind of as clear as a human being can make This kind of,” said James E. Tierney, a former Maine attorney general who helped pull the joint statement together. “He said This kind of clearly at great political risk, along with also also maybe personal risk to himself at the time.”

The signatories represent both major parties along with also also 36 of the 50 states, as well as the District of Columbia, Guam along with also also Puerto Rico. Mr. Baxley, 76, who called the statement “one of the most touching gestures which anybody’s ever made on my behalf,” said which was the most meaningful part.

“When you look down which list, there’s many fine Republicans as well as Democrats,” he said. “along with also also which’s the way This kind of ought to be on issues like This kind of, condemning sheer hatred.”

Though the decision not to address the statement to anyone in particular was deliberate — “We’re not trying to lobby anybody,” Mr. Tierney said — the context is actually clear. This kind of has been less than two weeks since a man drove a car into a crowd of counterprotesters at a rally of white supremacists along with also also neo-Nazis in Charlottesville, Va., along with also also one week since Mr. Trump doubled down on his assertion which “both sides” were responsible. Much of the national conversation since then has focused on Mr. Trump’s refusal to do exactly what the statement urges: unequivocally condemn hate along with also also those who espouse This kind of.

“I had no absolutely no patience for them, or for public officials which didn’t stand up to them,” Mr. Baxley said of the K.K.K. A majority of Southerners also opposed the K.K.K. inside the 1970s, he recalled, “however yet they didn’t speak up.”

Mr. Baxley, who at This kind of point works at a law firm in Alabama, was not involved in writing Monday’s statement however said he agreed with its message.

“Anybody which espouses which rhetoric along with also also which doctrine is actually not just expressing a difference of opinion — they’re advocating the most horrific acts which you can imagine towards innocent people,” he said. “This kind of just cannot be tolerated in a just society, or else you get something like you had in Nazi Germany. You just can’t allow which to take root.”

Mr. Tierney, at This kind of point a lecturer at Harvard Law School, emphasized in an interview which Mr. Baxley’s stance had been politically risky for an Alabama official inside the 1970s. along with also also which, he said, was the example he along with also also the some other former attorneys general wanted to remind people of.

“We’re politicians; we do what we have to do to get elected, however, you know, we draw the line. along with also also Bill drew the line,” Mr. Tierney said. “We wanted to give his courageous act voice at a time when the country needs to hear which there are courageous voices.”

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