Fox News White House correspondent John Roberts was visibly angry after a press conference in which press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, pressed by him to denounce white supremacists, refused to do so.
“For all of you on Twitter who are hammering at me for asking this question – I don’t care,” Roberts said in a live shot from the White House lawn. “Because it is a question that needs to be asked and, clearly, the President’s Republican colleagues a mile away are also looking for an answer.” So stop deviating, stop blaming the media. I’m tired of it. “
A frustrated @johnrobertsFox says he̵7;s tired of people on Twitter blaming the media for asking about President Trump’s comments in the debate (and ever since) on white supremacy groups.pic.twitter.com/UW3mBh5Mri
– Josh Wingrove (@josh_wingrove) October 1, 2020
Earlier, in a briefing, Roberts asked McEnany: “I would like to ask you for a definitive, declarative statement without ambiguity or deviation. Like the person who speaks for the president, the president denounces white supremacy and the groups that espouse it in all their forms. “
McEnany said, “This has been answered. Yesterday by the president himself. The day before by the president himself on the stage of the debate. The president was asked this. He said “sure” three times. Yesterday he was asked point blank: “Denounce white supremacy” and he replied “I have always denounced any form of this”.
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He looked at other quotes in which he said the president “condemned white supremacy more than any other president in modern history.”
But Roberts pushed her to issue a declaratory statement that the president denounces white supremacy. “I just did,” he insisted, although he never made such a statement.
He then accused Roberts of “devising a plot and a narrative”.
Roberts continued to push her to make a declaratory statement, rather than reading past Trump quotes.
Fox News – Fox News! – repeatedly asks Trump @PressSec Kayleigh McEnany to condemn white supremacists, and she refuses, repeatedly. https://t.co/IiwDmdsUrt
– John Aravosis 🇺🇸🇬🇷🏳️🌈 (@aravosis) October 1, 2020
At Tuesday’s debate, moderator Chris Wallace asked Trump if he would denounce white supremacists. When Trump asked for a specific group, Joe Biden mentioned the Proud Boys, the far-right hate group. Trump told them to “stand back and watch,” but later claimed he didn’t know who they were.
Later, Roberts said on Fox News that “it all remains very disconcerting” because the White House wouldn’t just make a declaratory statement. “If the president didn’t know who the Proud Boys were and he just threw out the name, if he didn’t know who they were, why denounce them. Why didn’t he say,” I don’t know who they are. Can you give me some more information about them. “
The topic was also raised by Paula Reid of CBS News, when questioned about the FBI and Homeland Security Department’s claims that racially motivated violent extremism “is one of the deadliest threats in the United States.”
“Does the White House agree with this assessment and what is it doing to combat this threat?” Reid asked.
McEnany said Trump said he wants to prosecute the KKK as a terrorist, and that lynching should be a national hate crime. “There is no stronger signal you can send than to support the accusation of a white supremacist.”
Reid, however, said Trump’s record was mixed, as he misunderstood or said he “didn’t want to acknowledge or confront him.”
He kept pressing McEnany until the press secretary said, “You have to let me finish. It’s kinda funny that the media goes haywire for the interruption during debates and then chooses the same tactic. This is a White House briefing. . Ask a question and give me time to answer. “
.@paulareidcbs Kayleigh McEnany insists on President Trump’s inconsistent statements denouncing racism and hate groups: “You’re saying he condemns him. I have his record right here. It’s mixed. His record is mixed.” https://t.co/Nj065CIsxp pic.twitter.com/IlfX1GRLaf
– CBS News (@CBSNews) October 1, 2020