- Fox News reporter John Roberts lost his temper on the air Thursday as he discussed White House efforts to dance around questions about President Donald Trump’s stance on white supremacy.
- “Stop deviating. Stop blaming the media. I’m tired of this,” Roberts said in a passionate reaction at Thursday’s press conference.
- Trump on Tuesday refused to explicitly condemn white supremacy groups during the presidential debate.
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Fox News reporter John Roberts on Thursday was visibly frustrated by White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany̵
“Stop deviating. Stop blaming the media. I’m tired of this,” Roberts said in a passionate reaction at Thursday’s press conference.
“The press secretary would not want, in a definitive, unequivocal and non-deviant way, to say that the president condemns white supremacism in all its forms and any group that adheres to it,” Roberts told Fox host Melissa Francis.
He went on to cite the fact that a number of prominent Republicans in Congress have urged Trump to “correct” his recent statements on the matter.
“For all of you on Twitter hammering at me for asking this question, I don’t care! Because it’s a question that needs to be asked, and clearly the President’s Republican colleagues a mile away are looking for an answer for that, too.” Roberts said.
—Oliver Darcy (@oliverdarcy) 1 October 2020
Roberts at the briefing asked McEnany for a declaratory statement that the president denounces white supremacism and the groups that marry him.
McEnany falsely claimed in response that Trump “condemned white supremacy more than any other president in modern history.” Trump’s rhetoric and political positions have often been celebrated by white supremacy and other far-right groups, and he has been endorsed by white nationalists in the past.
The White House press secretary went on to misleadingly assert that “Trump’s record on this is unmistakable and it is shameful that the media refuses to cover it.”
Later, McEnany took to Twitter to follow Roberts and note that his wife, journalist Kyra Phillips, said in a tweet Wednesday that “Trump tells me he REPORTS white supremacists.”
—Kayleigh McEnany (@PressSec) 1 October 2020
But Roberts’ questions on Thursday were connected to a well-documented story of Trump denouncing white supremacy only after public pressure and in a weak and belated way. The president has repeatedly failed to strongly condemn white supremacist groups and their ideology.
Trump has on many occasions made comments that align directly with the white supremacist’s worldviews, such as declaring at a rally full of just about every white supporter in Minnesota last month that they have “good genes” as he referred to the “theory. of the racehorse “.
It is true that there have been instances where the president has disavowed white supremacy groups. But this generally happened after it received approval from such associated groups or individuals, including the Ku Klux Klan, or after sparking a reaction through racist or xenophobic statements.
In one of the most notorious moments of his presidency, Trump blamed “many parties” for deadly violence at a neo-Nazi rally in Charlottesville, Virginia in August 2017. A counterprotector was killed during the white nationalist rally.
Subsequently, former KKK leader David Duke celebrated Trump’s remarks and thanked the president for condemning “leftist terrorists.”
After protesting his initial response to the alarming events in Charlottesville, Trump finally stepped forward and denounced white nationalist groups. But it took a significant amount of criticism, even from Republicans, to push Trump to that point.
—Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) 1 October 2020
Given this story, Trump was asked by Fox News moderator Chris Wallace to explicitly condemn white supremacy groups during Tuesday’s presidential debate. Trump in response elevated a far-right extremist group with a record of spreading white nationalist propaganda and a history of street violence.
“Proud guys, stand back and watch! But I’ll tell you one thing, someone has to do something against the antifa and the left,” Trump said in response to Wallace.
On Wednesday, Trump backtracked and said he didn’t know who the Proud Boys are, despite mentioning them explicitly during the debate. This is part of a larger pattern with Trump, who has leaned heavily on the ploys of white supremacy as he fights for re-election.