White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany spent Thursday’s briefing refusing to definitively say that President Donald Trump condemns white supremacy, a frustrating response just days after Trump dodged the same question at the first presidential debate.
Several reporters pressed McEnany about whether she could say outright that Trump denounces white supremacists and far-right extremists ― groups of people who comprise some of the president’s base. The questions were first sparked by Fox News correspondent John Roberts.
“I would like to ask you for a definitive and declarative statement without ambiguity or deflection,” Roberts asked the press secretary. “As the person who speaks for the president, does the president denounce white supremacism, and groups that espouse it, in all its forms?”
“This has been answered yesterday by the president himself, the day before by the president himself on the debate stage,” McEnany said, even though that claim is false. The press secretary then read a series of quotes from Trump saying “sure” when asked if he would condemn white supremacy.
But despite continued questioning from Roberts, she never gave a declarative statement on whether the president denounces the ideology and its followers. Instead, she accused the reporter of “contriving a storyline and a narrative.”
Kayleigh McEnany dances around a question from Fox News asking her to categorically condemn white supremacists. Very bizarre. pic.twitter.com/7xoyMHPTxa— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) October 1, 2020
Roberts spoke on Fox News after the briefing, visibly angry at McEnany’s refusal to give a clear denunciation of white supremacy.
“For all of you on Twitter who are hammering me for asking that question, I don’t care. It’s a question that needs to be asked, and clearly the president’s Republican colleagues a mile away from here are looking for an answer for it too,” he said. “So stop deflecting, stop blaming the media....