- Fox News reporter John Roberts lost his temper Thursday when he spoke about the White House’s efforts to dance questions about President Donald Trump’s stance on white supremacy.
- “Stop distracting. Stop blaming the media. I’m sick of it,” Roberts said in a passionate response to Thursday’s press conference.
- Trump on Tuesday refused to explicitly condemn white supremacist groups during the presidential debate.
- You can find more stories on the Business Insider homepage.
Fox News reporter John Roberts was visibly frustrated Thursday with White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany̵
“Stop distracting. Stop blaming the media. I’m sick of it,” Roberts said in a passionate response to Thursday’s press conference.
“The press secretary would not be definitive, unambiguous and non-distracting in saying that the president condemns white supremacism in all its forms and any group that supports it,” Roberts told Fox presenter Melissa Francis.
He went on to cite the fact that a number of prominent Republicans in Congress had urged Trump to “correct” his recent statements on the matter.
“I don’t care to anyone on Twitter who pound me for asking this question! Because it’s a question that needs to be asked and the President’s Republican colleagues who are a mile away are clearly following looking for an answer, too, “said Roberts.
– Oliver Darcy (@oliverdarcy) October 1, 2020
Roberts asked McEnany for an explanation during the briefing on whether the president denounced white supremacism and the groups that represent it.
McEnany falsely replied that Trump “condemned white supremacy more than any other president in modern history”. Trump’s rhetorical and political positions have been widely celebrated by white supremacists and other far-right groups, and he has been supported by white nationalists in the past.
The White House press secretary misleadingly said that Trump’s “report on it is unmistakable and it is shameful that the media refuses to cover it”.
McEnany later went on Twitter to follow Roberts and notice that his wife, reporter Kyra Phillips, said in a tweet on Wednesday, “Trump tells me he’s white supremacists DENOUNCES.”
– Kayleigh McEnany (@PressSec) October 1, 2020
But Roberts’ questions on Thursday were tied to a well-documented story in which Trump deciphered white supremacy only through public pressure and in weak, belated ways. The President has repeatedly failed to forcibly condemn white supremacist groups and their ideology.
Trump has made comments on many occasions that are directly in line with the worldview of white supremacists, such as a rally with almost all white supporters in Minnesota last month declaring that they have “good genes” when he referred to the ” Racehorse Theory “related.
It is true that there have been cases where the president has rejected white supremacist groups. However, it generally did so after receiving endorsement from such groups or associates, including the Ku Klux Klan, or after creating a backlash through racist or xenophobic statements.
In one of the most notorious moments of his presidency, Trump blamed “many sides” for deadly violence at a neo-Nazi rally in Charlottesville, Virginia in August 2017. A counter-protester was killed during the white nationalist rally.
Subsequently, former KKK leader David Duke celebrated Trump’s remarks and thanked the president for condemning the “left terrorists”.
After outcry over his initial reaction to the alarming events in Charlottesville, Trump finally stepped forward and denounced white nationalist groups. But it took considerable criticism, including from Republicans, to get Trump to this point.
AAaron Rupar (@atrupar) October 1, 2020
Given this story, during Tuesday’s presidential debate, Fox News host Chris Wallace asked Trump to explicitly condemn white supremacist groups. In response, Trump raised a far-right group with a record of spreading white nationalist propaganda and a history of street violence.
“Proud boys, stand back and stand by! But I’ll tell you what, someone has to do something about Antifa and the left,” Trump Wallace replied.
Trump withdrew on Wednesday, claiming he did not know who the Proud Boys were, despite explicitly mentioning them during the debate. This is part of a broader pattern with Trump, which has relied heavily on white tricks of the supremacists in the fight for re-election.