Reporters asked White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany the same question repeatedly Thursday, demanding that she make a statement explicitly condemning white supremacy on behalf of White House, despite her answer that President Donald Trump had already denounced it multiple times.
“I’d like to ask you for a definitive and declarative statement, without ambiguity or deflection. As the person who speaks for the president, does the president denounce white supremacism, a group that is founded in all their forms?” asked Fox News’ John Roberts.
“This has been answered yesterday by the president himself. The day before by the president himself on the debate stage. The president was asked this and he said ‘sure’ three times. Yesterday, he was point-blank asked ‘Do you denounce white supremacy’ and he said ‘I’ve always denounced any form of that,'” McEnany said, before listing off examples of Trump’s comments denouncing racism, neo-nazis, white supremacy, and the KKK.
“He has condemned white supremacy more than any president in modern history,” she added.
The media are so desperate to paint @realDonaldTrump as a "white supremacist," it seems they are just going to ask the same question every day until the election.@PressSec handled these biased, agenda-driven "reporters" like a champ. pic.twitter.com/Qd6si1yPqh
— The First (@TheFirstonTV) October 1, 2020
The accusations from the press at the White House briefing come after the presidential debate moderator Chris Wallace asked if Trump would “condemn white supremacists and militia groups…” While the president responded “sure” and called for a right-wing group to “stand back and stand by,” the media twisted his words and misconstrued them to fit their narrative creating headlines like “Trump refuses to denounce white supremacy, says ‘stand back and stand by’ on Proud Boys movement.”
Despite McEnany’s insistence that the president and his administration have not only condemned white supremacy and racially motivated violence but also enacted policy acting on that condemnation, reporters continued to argue with her.
“Just to clear it up this morning, can you naming it, make a declarative statement that you did that the President denounces it?” a reporter asked again.
“I just did,” McEnany shot back. “The president has denounced this repeatedly and the president was asked this. You’re contriving a storyline and a narrative.”
The reporter continued to press McEnany who began listing off Trump’s efforts to combat racial extremism.
“The president has denounced white supremacy, the KKK, and hate groups in all forms. He signed a resolution to that effect. The president just last week, perhaps you all weren’t covering it but just last week, expressed his desire to see the KKK prosecuted as domestic terrorists,” she said. “This president has advocated for the death penalty for a white supremacist, the first federal execution in 17 years. His record on this is unmistakable and it’s shameful that the media refuses to cover it.”
McEnany then shifted her attention to another reporter who asked what the White House had done to combat “racially motivated violent extremism as one of the deadliest threats that we face in the US.” McEnancy, once again, responded by listing the president’s efforts to “prosecute the KKK as domestic terrorists and make “lynching a national hate crime again.”
“His record is very mixed on the situation,” the reporter said, interrupting McEnany. “He has not been consistent on the issue.”
McEnany repeatedly tried to respond to the reporter who kept talking but eventually reprimanded the reporter.
“We are not having a debate on a cable news network,” she said.
“It is quite funny that the media goes haywire about interrupting in the debates and then chooses to pursue that very same tactic themselves,” the press secretary said. “This is a White House briefing. You ask the question and you give me time to answer.”
After the press briefing, McEnany responded to Roberts on Twitter, pointing out that his wife reported that “Trump DENOUNCES white supremacists,” nearly an entire day before Roberts demanded the press secretary answer the same question multiple times.
— Kayleigh McEnany (@PressSec) October 1, 2020