ANDERSON — Both Republicans and Democrats are responsible for adding more fuel to the racist rhetoric that have escalated recently, according to Rep. Susan Brooks.

During an interview with The Herald Bulletin on Thursday, Brooks, R-5th District, said she voted for the resolution that was critical of President Donald Trump’s recent tweets that were considered racist in nature.

She said the increase in racist rhetoric is a concern in that not only words matter, but also who is saying them and how they're received.

“Democrats have not been holding their colleagues accountable for their racist comments and tweets being made,” she said. “There are freshman colleagues that are fueling the fire as well. They should be held accountable as well.”

Brooks said Democrats in the U.S. House could be punished through the passage of a similar resolution.

As a member of the Select Committee to Modernize Congress and the Civility Subcommittee, Brooks said both are focused on the steps needed to elevate conduct in the U.S. House and the federal government as a whole.

Brooks said legislation is being developed to define domestic terrorism.

“Depending on what that looks like, it could increase the federal resources,” she said. “It’s like foreign terrorism. Terrorism is going to be discovered at the local level.”

Social media has elevated the rhetoric because of the anonymity it affords, Brooks said.

Domestic terrorism starts with local law enforcement, which has the responsibility of contacting federal agencies when something unusual occurs, she said.

The office of justice program received $4 million in 2019 to study domestic radicalization.

TRADE NEGOTIATIONS

Brooks said President Trump has negotiated a good trade package with Canada and Mexico that hasn't been brought to the floor of the U.S. House.

“The farmers, auto and steel industries all believe it is a good agreement,” she said. “We need to get that legislation passed.”

She said Canada and Mexico are the country’s two top trading partners and the agreement has to be approved.

According to Brooks, the overall impression is the new agreement is better than the North American Free Trade Agreement.

“I had hoped we would be further along with China,” she said. “The Chinese are very, very difficult to negotiate with and I think this will take longer than we all hoped it would take.

“That is a concern particularly to our soybean and pork producers,” Brooks said. “I really hope we don’t have a long, protracted trade war."

Follow Ken de la Bastide on Twitter @KendelaBastide, or call 640-4863.

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