Maine’s sole Democratic member of Congress said Wednesday that Republican President Donald Trump needs to fire several “bigoted, white supremacist sympathizers” who are among his top aides.

“I never thought Congress would have to take the step of explicitly condemning white supremacists and asking the White House to do the same,” U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree, whose 1st District includes Portland.

“But after President Trump doubled-down to defend and legitimize these groups — emboldening them and inspiring more violence — that’s where we are. It’s sickening,” she said in a prepared statement.

Trump’s comments Tuesday included the assertion that the white supremacists who organized the rally in Charlottesville and those who gathered to oppose them were at fault for the violence that broke out there. He also said both groups contained “very fine people” as well as some who deserved criticism.

“My office’s phone is ringing off the hook today with constituents who are incensed with his statements and others who fear for their families’ safety because of them,” she said.

“It’s important to show them that, unlike the president, Congress believes there’s no place for hate groups in the White House. It’s long past time for bigoted, white supremacist sympathizers like Steve Bannon, Sebastian Gorka, and Stephen Miller to go.”


Trump defended Bannon, his chief strategist, during his boisterous press conference Tuesday. He has given no indication that he is unhappy with any of the aides. MIller is his chief policy adviser. Gorka is a deputy assistant to the president.

Other Maine lawmakers have weighed in since the press conference as well, but none so harshly as Pingree.

U.S. Sen. Angus King, an independent, said in a prepared statement that he was disappointed at Trump’s words and “had hoped we were on a path towards healing and reconciliation.”

“To heal from acts of bigotry and hate fueled by white supremacists, we need civil discourage, not divisive language,” King said.

Republican Susan Collins, who has held one of Maine’s Senate seats for two decades, said in a statement on Twitter that “the violence in Charlottesville” last weekend “was caused by racists & hate groups. We must unite against them.”

U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin, a 2nd District Republican, said on Twitter that “the acts of terrorism that took place this past weekend were horrific and unacceptable, and I unequivocally condemn them.”

“Violence is never acceptable. We cannot promote or defend racial and religious hatred or groups that support it,” he said.

U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree, a Democrat, has called on President Donald Trump to fire three of his top aides — Steve Bannon, left, Stephen Miller and Sebastian Gorka.


This is a picture that U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree tweeted Wednesday morning calling on President Trump to fire three top White House aides.

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