Republican staffers run for their lives from reporters asking for comment on Trump’s racism
White House photo of Donald Trump and staff in the Oval Office. From left, Kellyanne Conway, Bill Shine, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Dan Scavino, Donald Trump, Stephen Miller, Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump and Mercedes Schlapp

Republicans on Sunday struggled to answer questions about nativist tweets by President Donald Trump that have been widely condemned as the "textbook definition of racism."

"On Sunday, representatives for Republican House leaders did not respond to emails seeking comment on Mr. Trump’s remarks," The New York Times reported Sunday.

House Republicans aren't the only ones without an answer.

Senate Republicans also ducked the issue on Sunday, which earned them an impassioned rebuke on MSNBC from PBS host Alexander Heffner.

"During the 2016 campaign, whenever Trump made racist or xenophobic comments there was a small but reliable chorus of Republican office holders who spoke out. Today, there’s silence, nine hours later," Washington Post White House bureau chief Phil Rucker reported.

"However, the most ridiculous response to Trump's tweets likely came from his re-election campaign.

Matt Wolking, the Trump campaign's deputy director of communications for rapid response for Trump’s 2020 re-election campaign, attempted to gaslight voters by denying what Trump had said -- while including a screengrab disproving his claims.

Wolking's effort was described as "an incredible self-own."

While Trump's comments were impossible to defend, they did signal the direction he has chosen for his re-election efforts.

"Delivered on the day he had promised widespread immigration raids, Mr. Trump’s comments signaled a new low in how far he will go to affect public discourse surrounding the issue. In a week in which he waged a fight about putting a citizenship question on the 2020 census and hosted incendiary right-wing internet figures at the White House, Mr. Trump appeared resigned to force 2020 voters to choose between the white, native-born America he and his supporters have romanticized and the diverse and increasingly foreign-born country he is presiding over," The Times reported.

The newspaper noted the White House did not respond to requests for comments.