Fox News White House correspondent John Roberts was visibly angry after a press conference that press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, pressured by him to denounce white supremacists, declined.
“For everyone on Twitter who pound me for asking that question – I don’t care,” Roberts said in a live recording from the White House lawn. “Because this is a question that needs to be asked, the President’s Republican colleagues a mile from here are clearly looking for an answer too. So stop distracting, stop blaming the media. I’m tired of it. “
A frustrated @johnrobertsFox says he̵7;s tired of people on Twitter accusing the media of asking about President Trump’s comments in the debate (and since) on white supremacist groups pic.twitter.com/UW3mBh5Mri
– Josh Wingrove (@josh_wingrove) October 1, 2020
Previously, at a briefing, Roberts had asked McEnany, “I would like to ask you for a definitive, meaningful statement without ambiguity or distraction. As the person speaking for the president, the president condemns white supremacy and groups that advocate it in all its forms. “
McEnany said, “This has been answered. Yesterday by the President himself. The day before by the President himself in the debate. The President was asked to do so. He said “sure” three times. Yesterday he was asked at close quarters: “Are you denouncing the supremacy of whites?” And he said, “I’ve always denounced every form of it.”
Shepard Smith makes his debut on CNBC news show focusing on Donald Trump and sowing “Seeds Of Suspicion” in elections
She went through other quotes saying that the president “condemned white supremacy more than any other president in modern history.”
But Roberts urged them to make a statement that the president denounced white supremacy. “I just did it,” she insisted, although she had never made such a statement.
Then he accused Roberts of “making up a plot and a narrative”.
Roberts continued to urge her to make a declarative statement instead of reading from Trump’s earlier quotes.
Fox News – Fox News! – Repeatedly urges Trumps @PressSec Kayleigh McEnany to condemn white supremacists and she repeatedly opposes it. https://t.co/IiwDmdsUrt
– John Aravosis @ (@aravosis) October 1, 2020
During the debate on Tuesday, moderator Chris Wallace asked Trump if he would denounce white supremacists. When Trump asked about a specific group, Joe Biden mentioned Proud Boys, the far right hate group. Trump told them to sit back and stand by, but later claimed he didn’t know who they were.
Roberts later said on Fox News that “it all remains a mystery” why the White House would not just make a declarative statement. “If the President didn’t know who the Proud Boys were and he just dropped the name if he didn’t know who they were, why did he denounce them? Why didn’t he say, “I don’t know who you are. Can you give me a little more information about it? “
The subject was also raised by Paula Reid of CBS News, who was asked about statements by the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security that racially motivated violent extremism is “one of the deadliest threats in the US”.
“Does the White House agree with this assessment and what is it doing to combat this threat?” Asked Reid.
McEnany said that Trump has said that he wants to prosecute the KKK as a terrorist and that lynching should then be a national hate crime. “There is no stronger signal you can send than to stand up for the persecution of a white supremacist.”
However, Reid said Trump’s record was mixed as he wasn’t sure or said he “didn’t want to acknowledge or address it”.
She kept pressing McEnany until the press secretary said, “You have to get me done. It’s pretty funny that the media get confused during the debates and then choose the same tactic themselves. This is a White House meeting. You ask a question and give me time to answer. “
. @ paulareidcbs presses Kayleigh McEnany on President Trump’s inconsistent statements denouncing racism and hate groups: “They say he condemns it. I have his files here. It’s mixed. His record is mixed.” https://t.co/Nj065CIsxp pic.twitter.com/IlfX1GRLaf
– CBS News (@CBSNews) October 1, 2020