President Donald Trump’s new “white paint” crackdown is creating “a huge problem” for the Trump administration, a top congressional aide said Monday.
The new rules, enacted Friday, allow the Department of Justice to target businesses and individuals for prosecution for refusing to paint over their names on government buildings.
The rules, which were also reported Monday by The Washington Post, also include a new provision allowing for the federal government to seize property, including bank accounts, in the name of race.
“I don’t think it’s a problem, not a concern,” said Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), who is also the ranking member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.
“It’s just a way to enforce existing law, so that we can continue to enforce the law.”
Van Hollens office had previously defended the move as an effort to protect public safety.
“The president has been using his executive powers to try to silence people and to try and make it harder for people to speak out against him,” Van Hollensen said.
“But he should not be using his powers to intimidate people into silence, to suppress speech, and to make it more difficult for people in America to express their views.”
The rules go into effect on Aug. 1, but a spokesperson for Trump did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
While many lawmakers have expressed concern about the new rules and how they could be abused, Van Hollening said the Trump Administration was taking “all necessary steps to make sure that the law is enforced.”