Tuesday night’s presidential debate was an ugly affair, through and through, but one of the most talked about moments came when President Trump was asked to denounce white supremacy in America.
His answer, which he directed at a hate group known as “Proud Boys”, was to “stand back and stand by” – an admonishment that was quickly seized upon by those who believed that this was simply not enough, nor was it properly phrased. The use of “stand by” was specifically an issue, as it seemed to indicate that there would be a time and a place where these hate-mongers would be needed.
Over the course of subsequent days, both the President and others within his team have been asked to clarify these statements, but nothing has seemed to satisfy pundits and much of the American population.
At the White House on Thursday, things turned tense.
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany sparred with reporters Thursday over President Trump’s recent comments on white supremacists, arguing Trump denounced hate groups at this week’s presidential debate and denying that he has a mixed record on the issue.
McEnany fielded questions from several journalists about the president’s record on condemning white supremacy, but largely parried them away by dismissing the inquiries as “partisan.” It marked the second consecutive day where the White House has struggled to answer questions about the president’s remarks from Tuesday night.
Fox News correspondent John Roberts asked McEnany for a “definitive and declarative statement” that the president denounces white supremacy and groups that espouse it. McEnany pointed to Trump’s previous comments condemning that ideology, including remarks from Wednesday and in the aftermath of a mass shooting in El Paso, Texas, in August 2019, but she would not offer a fresh condemnation from the podium.
“Can you right now denounce white supremacy and the groups that espouse it?” Roberts asked.
“I just did,” McEnany responded, accusing Roberts of contriving a story.
President Trump’s comments on the subject of white supremacy are causing quite a reverberation around the nation, and will undoubtedly be a focal point of the election – which is now just 33 days away.
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