When the mainstream media ask President Trump or Trump administration officials to denounce white supremacy, it’s not a question — it’s an accusation. That’s why they won’t accept Trump’s clear, unequivocal, numerous denunciations of white supremacy and racism. The point isn’t to get a clear answer, it’s to smear Trump as a racist.
Trump no doubt knows this, which is why he seems to resent being asked the question at this point. And who wouldn’t? No matter how many times he condemns white supremacy, the questions keep coming.
Hence one of the major media narratives spun out of the presidential debate earlier this week is that Trump “refused to condemn white supremacy.” Never mind that any honest person watching on Tuesday night, or who went back and read the transcript, knows that he did just that — although maybe not in the exact terms Chris Wallace and Joe Biden and the mainstream media demanded.
Nevertheless, the press latched onto this line and won’t let it go. John Roberts of Fox News harangued White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany about it Thursday morning, asking for a “definitive and declarative statement” on whether Trump denounces white supremacy.
McEnany replied, correctly, that the question had been answered by the president himself the day before, and on the debate stage Tuesday night, and many times over the past three-and-a-half years, directly quoting Trump’s denunciations of white supremacy from August 2019 and August 2017, and noting that just last week Trump said he’d like the Ku Klux Klan to be designated a terrorist organization. “He has condemned white supremacy more than any other president in modern history.”
But in a show of abject bias and buffoonery, Roberts and other White House reporters wouldn’t accept McEnany’s answer. One has to see the back-and-forth that ensued to believe it:
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
Later, Roberts threw a temper tantrum on camera about all the criticism he was getting on Twitter over his behavior, angrily defending his question on the grounds that some GOP senators — perhaps the most feckless and cowardly group of people in the country — happen to agree with him.
Then McEnany destroyed Roberts in a single tweet, saying his own wife, Kyra Phillips of ABC News, reported the day before that Trump had denounced white supremacy.
— Kayleigh McEnany (@PressSec) October 1, 2020
Trump’s Long Record of Condemning White Supremacy
This little dust-up is just the latest in a never-ending cycle. The press demands Trump condemn white supremacy, Trump condemns it, and the press pretends he didn’t, or that he equivocated, or that he dodged. The pattern is so obvious and so long-running it’s impossible to deny it unless, like most mainstream reporters, you’re a hopeless partisan hack.
Consider how many times Trump has been asked to disavow David Duke, a former grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan and failed politician who was briefly a member of the Reform Party when Trump considered running for president as its nominee in 2000. That February, Trump withdrew from the race, citing Duke, whom he called a “neo-Nazi” and a “racist,” as part of the reason he no longer wanted to be associated with the Reform Party. “This is not company I wish to keep,” he said.
The issue came up during the 2016 election when Duke endorsed Trump. Asked repeatedly about the endorsement, Trump repeatedly disavowed him. In February and March 2016, Trump disavowed Duke at least a half-dozen times, including on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” where he complained that he kept getting asked about it. “I disavowed him in the past, and I disavow him now. And it was very clear that I disavowed, but they—the press doesn’t want to go with it. They just love the story.”
It was more of the same after Trump won the presidency. After Richard Spencer’s alt-right conference in Washington, D.C., Trump was asked by New York Times executive editor Dean Baquet whether he thought he had energized the alt-right. “I don’t think so, Dean,” he said. “I don’t want to energize the group, and I disavow the group.” Asked about it again by reporters, Trump said, “I disavow and condemn them.”
In August 2017, after a white supremacist march in Charlottesville, Va., ended in violent clashes and the death of counterprotester Heather Heyer, Trump said from the White House, “Racism is evil, and those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs, including the KKK, neo-Nazis and white supremacists and other hate groups that are repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans.”
The next day Trump made his supposedly infamous remark about how there were “fine people” on both sides — a statement the media intentionally misconstrued as him saying there were fine people among the neo-Nazis even though Trump clarified in that same press conference he was referring to people on both sides of the debate over Confederate monuments. “I’m not talking about the neo-Nazis and white nationalists because they should be condemned totally,” he said.
On the one-year anniversary of Charlottesville, Trump called for unity and tweeted, “I condemn all types of racism and acts of violence.”
In the wake of racially-motivated mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, last August, Trump said, “In one voice, our nation must condemn racism, bigotry and white supremacy.”
Asked about white supremacy the next day, Trump said, “I am very concerned about the rise of any group of hate. I don’t like it, any group of hate, whether it’s white supremacy, whether it’s any other kind of supremacy, with it’s Antifa — I am very concerned about it and I’ll do something about it.”
On and on it goes. No matter how many times Trump condemns and denounces white supremacy, it will never be enough for the mainstream media because the point isn’t to get the president on record, the point is to accuse him of being a racist.
At this point, it would be understandable if Trump simply refused to answer these questions. If he did that, you can be sure media pundits the next day would pretend to be aghast and breathlessly report — you guessed it — that “Trump refuses to condemn white supremacy.”
It’s a stupid game that Trump can’t win, so he should stop playing. His record is clear — and the media know it.